EL DORADO, Ark. – Murphy USA reported a slight dip of 1.6% in same-store tobacco sales in 2016 for its network of about 1,400 stores, officials noted in a press release issued after its recent quarterly investor call. On an average per-store-per-month basis, tobacco sales were down 3.8%.
Margins, on the other hand, were up. For the full year, total merchandise contribution dollars were up 11.2%, driven by a 6.3% increase in per-store tobacco margins and a 4.8% increase in per-store non-tobacco margins.
Tobacco-margin growth was attributable to higher rebates, price increases, promotional activity and its relationship with the San Francisco-based Core-Mark, the press release said.
The El Dorado, Ark.-based Murphy opened 37 retail locations in the fourth quarter of 2016, bringing the quarter-end store count to 1,401, consisting of 1,152 Murphy USA sites and 249 Murphy Express sites. A total of 27 stores are currently under construction, including 16 high-performing locations that were closed in late January 2017 for raze and rebuild and are expected to return to operation in the second quarter as larger-format stores, the company said.