Stung by high gasoline prices and high unemployment in many of its markets, The Pantry reported third quarter earnings Tuesday that missed Wall Street estimates.
The Cary-based convenience store chain, which has more than 1,600 stores throughout the Southeast, reported net income, excluding one-time charges, of $21 million, or 93 cents per share, compared to 89 cents per share during the same period a year ago.
That was below the consensus among analysts who follow the company of $1.22 per share.
Merchandise sales at Pantry stores decrease 1.5 percent, compared to a 7.7 percent increase during the same period a year ago.
Rising oil prices have been driving up the cost of gas, and consumers have responded by spending less on other things.
The Pantry continues its aggressive store remodeling program, called Program Fresh, that is based on offering more fresh food and a revamped line of Bean Street Coffee beverages.
The company completed its 150th store makeover in June.
“We continue to be focused on driving cash flows that in turn will reduce debt and allow us to invest in our stores through Program Fresh to accelerate merchandised and food service growth,” CEO Terrance Marks said this morning on a conference call with analysts.
After selling 21 stores last year, The Pantry is in the process of selling another 114 stores.
The Pantry shares closed down $3.06 at $11.90 today. The stock is down 44 percent over the last year.