Three or Four New Builds a Year for The Pantry

Chain pleased with newest Kangaroo Express store design (slideshow)

Steve Holtz, Editor in Chief, CSP Daily News

CARY, N.C. -- The Pantry had reason to celebrate earlier this year when it opened its first new-build Kangaroo Express store in four years. Three months later, the convenience store chain is reporting good sales and poised to add more new builds in the near future.

"The opening of our Charlotte store in early March was a positive step, and we are very excited about its early results," CEO Dennis Hatchell said on an earnings conference call earlier this month.

The new, 4,900-square-foot store, features a Subway restaurant with a drive-thru, as well as The Pantry's Aunt M's proprietary foodservice offering.

"The first noticeable thing is that it is a full QSR with the full inside seating as well as outside seating and the drive-thru," Hatchell said. "So it gives the QSR the kind of presence that it needs to compete well in the marketplace. Inside the store, we've aggressively gone after the kind of products that we thought people in that area were really looking for."

In this case, that includes the foodservice area, a frozen yogurt bar, iced teas, smoothies, iced coffee and the new coffee "mixology" station.

"We call it, 'We brew it; you do it.' There is an opportunity to really customize it," Hatchell said. The site was also identified as fitting The Pantry's Lifestyle Initiative for a Hispanic offering based on demographics, thus there is a good deal of Hispanic products.

Added Hatchell, "We have dramatically changed the health-and-beauty-care offering within the store to get after what we've identified as a consumer request and the need."

Please with the results in the new store so far, Hatchell plans to build at least four similar sites per year for the next three of four years.

"And we're hopeful to do more of that; that's using up properties that we already have a hold of and a few new ones," he said. "And if we think it will perform well in that particular location, we're going to build it."

For more on The Pantry's retailing strategy, see the May issue of CSP magazine.

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