Susser Holdings Welcomes 'Meaningful Volatility'

Fluctuating fuel prices drive strong year for Stripes convenience stores

Steve Holtz, Editor in Chief, CSP Daily News

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas -- Executives at Susser Holdings Corp. are holding out for "another year of meaningful volatility" in 2013 as it celebrates an almost 11% increase in fuel gallons sold in 2012 and record fourth-quarter fuel margins.

"Total gallons sold increased almost 11% with strong performance from both our retail stores and third-party sales made by our wholesale segment," said president and CEO Sam Susser.

On the retail side, "we had another very strong year for retail fuel volumes and gross profit," said Steve DeSutter, president and CEO of retail operations. "Gallons per store increased 5.8% for the full year with diesel sales driving much of that increase. That said, gasoline gallons per store also increased this year."

So did fuel margins.

"Fourth-quarter fuel margin of 21.1 cents per gallon is the best Q4 margin we've ever reported," DeSutter said. "This was primarily the result of falling fuel costs during most of the quarter."

Another year of volatility should mean another growth year for fuel sales, according to Susser.

"As long as there's some big down quarters to go with the tough up quarters, that usually works pretty well for us; as long as there's a lot of volatility," he said on a fourth-quarter earnings conference call. "We expect seasonality trends that we've had in the past to remain in place, with our best margins typically coming in the summer months and early fall. Generally, winter months are tighter for us, and we would expect that trend to remain in place."

Susser Holdings is a third-generation, family-led business based in Corpus Christi, Texas, that operates more than 550 convenience stores in Texas, New Mexico and Oklahoma under the Stripes banner.

Steve Holtz, CSP/Winsight By Steve Holtz, Editor in Chief, CSP Daily News
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