'We Need to Be The Pantry'

Foodservice, smokes stoked sales; dispensed beverages need work

Pantry Kangaroo Express (CSP Daily News / Convenience Stores)

CARY, N.C. -- Proprietary foodservice was a "bright spot," as well as improved cigarette traffic, The Pantry Inc.'s president and CEO Dennis G. Hatchell said during the convenience store chain's fiscal third-quarter conference call on Wednesday.

"We are continuing to build our proprietary foodservice offering, and increasing the overall mix of our foodservice as a percent of merchandise sales is a major focus," he said, citing the addition of grills and expanded condiment programs to additional Kangaroo Express c-stores.

Proprietary foodservice comps were up 3.2%, and quick-service restaurant (QSR) sales grew 7.7% on a comparable-store basis, which included opening new QSRs in existing stores.

"We are increasingly realizing benefits in our customer traffic from improved price position on cigarettes and the attachment sales they generate," he added.

He conceded, however, that dispensed beverage sales "were not as strong as planned and our merchandising team is developing programs to stimulate sales in this high potential category. We further developed our beverage merchandising with the introduction of frozen, noncarbonated beverages, as well as frozen and iced coffee. We expanded the number of immediate consumption beverage coolers and continue to innovate in alcoholic beverages as we increase the number of flavored malt beverages. … Our promotional activities increased with our Buy More Save More beverage program, and we introduced several $1 Roo deal programs to increase impulse purchases."

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Part of CSP's 2014 Convenience Top 101 retailers