Susser Sales Up In First Quarter

Susser Holdings Corp. said its total first quarter 2008 merchandise sales increased more than 80% to $168.8 million, compared to $93.4 million a year earlier for the stand-alone Susser operation.

The company’s recent acquisition of Town & Country Food Stores helped bolster the sales. On a same-store basis, merchandise sales at Susser increased 8.2% from the first quarter of 2007.

Total revenues for the combined organization increased 89.3% to a record $1 billion, from $528.6 million in the first quarter last year. Gross profit increased 74.7% to $91.5 million, compared to $52.4 million in the first quarter a year ago in the stand-alone Susser operation.

"Our above-average same-store sales growth and our increased merchandise margin of 33.6% in the first quarter demonstrate that our primary markets in South and West Texas are not seeing the kind of economic slowdown that has impacted other parts of the country," said Sam Susser, the company’s president and CEO. "In fact, although rising oil and refined product prices are putting pressure on the broader economy–and putting pressure on our retail fuel margins and credit card fees–our markets in west and southeast Texas and southern Oklahoma are seeing a boost in economic activity from higher energy prices.

"We will, however, remain vigilant as we look for any sign of a consumer slowdown, and we intend to manage our business and our capital outlays prudently and conservatively," Susser said.

In the first quarter 2008, Susser opened three new retail units, bringing the company’s total store count to 507 as of March 30. One additional store opened on May 1, and four more stores are under construction or under contract for purchase. In addition to the three new restaurants opened in the new stores, the company opened restaurants in one existing store and closed one, bringing the total number of stores with restaurant operations to 285, or 56% of all stores at the end of the first quarter.

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