The Pantry shares rose 3 percent on Tuesday as the Cary convenience store chain reported third-quarter earnings that beat Wall Street estimates.
The company reported net income of $14.8 million, or 65 cents per share, compared with $19 million, or 84 cents per share during the third quarter of 2011. The consensus among Wall Street analysts who cover the company was earnings per share of 57 cents.
The Pantry has more than 1,500 stores throughout the Southeast, primarily under the Kangaroo Express brand.
Comparable store merchandise sales at those stores increased 3.6 percent. Gasoline revenues continue to lag. Fuel gross profit was $67.1 million in the quarter, compared with $80.1 million a year ago.
The Pantry has sold 57 stores this fiscal year, and CEO Dennis Hatchell said on a conference call with analysts that the company would continue to divest itself of stores that don’t fit its criteria for future investment. The Pantry ended the quarter with 1,592 stores, and expects to have about 1,575 by the end of the year.
“While pleased with these results, we are focused on improving them over time by implementing our strategic initiatives, such as our store remodel, foodservice and lifestyle merchandising programs,” Hatchell said in a statement.
The Pantry’s stock closed up 38 cents at $14.97 on Tuesday. The shares are up 25 percent this year.