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    Susser Changing Its Stripes

    Circle K stores going public, with a new brand.

    CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas -- The Susser family company, in business since 1938, has incorporated Susser Holdings Corp. under a Delaware charter, and intends to raise $115 million in its initial public sale of common stock, according to papers filed Friday with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

    The Corpus Christi, Texas-based company that operates more than 300 Circle K stores in Texas and Oklahoma is also changing the stores' name to Stripes, according to a report in the Corpus Christi Caller-Times.

    President and CEO Sam L. Susser declined to comment Friday. Federal law establishes a quiet period before an initial public offering, meaning Susser and other company officials are bound by law to maintain confidentiality.

    The company is going public primarily to retire debt and to expand, according to the SEC filing.

    Susser Holdings reports itself as "the largest independent convenience store operator and the largest non-refining motor fuel distributor in Texas." The company distributed 809.5 million gallons of fuel last year.

    Susser Holdings is among the nation's largest distributors of Citgo and Chevron fuel and a significant distributor of Conoco, Exxon, Shell and Texaco branded fuels, according to the filing.

    According to the newspaper report, within the convenience store industry, Susser Holdings is less dependent on cigarette and fuel sales. It sees more growth and profit margin in its in-store merchandise, including the fast-growing Laredo Taco Company-branded hot fresh foods.

    The company expects to benefit from industry trends, including a shift from traditional supermarkets to convenience stores, and the growing tendency to eat food available quickly outside the home, according to the filing. The company also sees its size as a competitive advantage.

    In complying with federal law by maintaining silence, Sam L Susser forsook an opportunity to brag. The company had five stores and revenues of $8.4 million in 1988, when he joined the family business. Now it has 319 and expects to open 16 to 20 more by the end of 2007. It employs 3,592 people, 74 percent of them full time.

    The name change to Stripes coincides with expiration of a licensing agreement with the TMC Franchise Corp. for the use of the Circle K name. The company expects the name changes to cost $5.5 million to $7.5 million.

    The SEC filing does not report a date for the initial public offering.

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