Corner Stores CEO Focuses on Growth
Chain concentrating on becoming "a consumer-focused, pure-retail company"
SAN ANTONIO -- Despite drops in net income, operating income and revenue during second-quarter 2013 compared to Q2 2012, Kim Bowers, chairman and CEO of the newly spun-off CST Brands Inc., chose to spend the bulk of her time on the company's first quarterly earnings conference call focusing on convenience store growth and a future rebranding.
"We are moving away from being a part of a very large refining company to a consumer-focused, pure-retail company that can adapt quickly to customer trends and tastes," Bowers said Tuesday. "We have great people and strong assets, but that's not to say that we're going to stand still. Our approach is to build on these strengths and create value by investing in our current asset base, as well as looking for new opportunities to grow our network."
CST Brands--and its Corner Store retail brand--was spun off from Valero Energy Corp. as a separate company on May 1. Since the beginning of the year, the company has opened eight new stores in the United States and one in Canada.
"We … are on track to open seven additional stores in the U.S. and six in Canada over the remaining months of 2013," Bowers said.
The San Antonio-based company also opened its largest store ever in May, a 10,100-square-foot Corner Store and travel center in Three Rivers, Texas, in the middle of oil-drilling country. "While this store is quite a bit larger than our typical new-store format, it has performed tremendously well in a short period of time and is an excellent example of the results we can achieve by placing the right store in the right location at the right time," Bowers said.
"We have momentum and resources that should give us the ability to double our new store builds from this year in the U.S. while also maintaining the current level of new construction in Canada," she said.
Plans also include closing underperforming stores, reconsidering locations where leases are expiring and investing in legacy stores to ensure they remain fresh and offer the most desirable products.
"To help grow our business, we have built new stores, we've introduced new products and we've have hired new faces," Bowers said. "We continue to evaluate and improve our processes to be more efficient and light on our feet in order to bring new products and service offerings to market faster."
One major initiative will have the company review the varied brands offered by Corner Stores with a possible rebranding or store redesign to follow, pending the results.
"Our Corner Store brand comes to market in a handful of different ways, and we are currently undergoing a brand study to help inform us on how to combine those brands into one," Bowers said. "That will also lead into a remodeling program. For example in Colorado, our stores there are marketed with a Diamond Shamrock fuel and have the Diamond Shamrock Corner Store look to it. And as we finish up our brand study this fall, that will help us look at our Colorado assets as an example."
CST Brands is one of the largest independent retailers of motor fuels and convenience merchandise in North America. Based in San Antonio, CST employs nearly 12,000 team members at approximately 1,900 locations throughout the southwestern United States and eastern Canada.