Business

The Pantry earnings miss Wall Street estimates

The Pantry reported a wider loss than Wall Street analysts estimated Thursday as the Cary convenient store chain was hurt by the bad weather in the Southeast earlier this year.

Excluding the impact of impairment charges, the company reported in its fiscal second quarter a net loss of $9.8 million, or 43 cents per share, compared with a net loss of 6.3 million, or 28 cents per share in the second quarter of 2013.

The consensus among analysts who cover the company was a loss of $6.7 million, or 29 cents per share, according to Bloomberg.

Total revenue was $1.77 billion, in line with what analysts forecast but down from $1.89 billion during the same period a year ago.

In addition to the weather, The Pantry was hurt by lower fuel margins. Fuel gross profit during the quarter was $42.6 million, down from $48.4 million during the same period a year ago. Comparable store fuel gallons sold were also down 3.2 percent.

But comparable store merchandise revenue increased 2.3 percent in the quarter, despite the weather reducing traffic into the company’s stores.

“We were encouraged with our second quarter results even though they were affected by unfavorable weather,” CEO Dennis Hatchell said in a statement. “ ... We remain focused on unlocking the company’s potential as we build on the positive inside sales results and continue our efforts to improve fuel performance.

The Pantry operates 1,534 stores in the Southeast, primarily under the Kangaroo Express brand.

The company has been working to offset declining gasoline and cigarette sales by offering more proprietary foods in its stores and remodeling its aging stores and adding quick-service restaurants, such as Subway or Taco Bell, to complement its convenience stores in some locations.

The company completed seven store remodels during the quarter, and added three quick-service restaurants.

The Pantry shares closed Thursday at $14.93, down 11 cents. The stock is down 11 percent this year.

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