If you subscribe to The News & Observer and you haven't discovered the N&O ZONE, you've been missing out on some great opportunities for freebies and discounts.
The program rewards home-delivery subscribers with all types of perks -- everything from drawings for free gift cards to movie passes and concert tickets.
This week, the ZONE is giving away free passes to the highly anticipated movie, "The Hunger Games." Twenty-five folks will receive one "Admit-Two" pass. The pass is good for Monday through Thursday showings at Mission Valley Cinemas or Six Forks Station Cinemas. Winners will be chosen at random on Friday, March 23.
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Here's how the promotion works:
Cary-based convenience store chain The Pantry announced this morning that it has named Dennis G. Hatchell to be its new president and CEO effective March 5.
Hatchell was previously vice chairman of Alex Lee, a holding company for Lowe's Food Stores, Merchants Distributors and Institution Food House.
He will take over from Edwin Holman, who has been the interim CEO since Terrance Marks resigned in October to become the CEO of the Hooters restaurant chain.
Holman will remain chairman of the board. Hatchell also joins the board.
The Pantry reported a net loss of $2.9 million, or 13 cents a share, in the first quarter this morning.
That was a smaller loss than the $12.2 million, or 54 cents a share that the Cary-based convenience store chain reported in last year's first quarter.
Excluding impairment charges and loss on extinguishment of debt, the net loss for the first quarter of fiscal 2012 was $2.6 million or $0.11 per share.
Interim CEO Edwin Holman said in a release that the company benefited from lower expenses and a better pricing environment.
"As we continue revising our pricing strategy to position the company for the longer term, we remain focused on improving our sales trends, expense management, and debt reduction.”
The Pantry has more than 1,600 stores throughout the Southeast, primarily under the Kangaroo Express brand. Merchandise sales at those stores increased 2 percent in the first quarter.
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The Pantry reported fourth quarter results this morning that were below analyst expectations, as the Cary convenience store chain continued to face sluggish merchandise sales at its stores.
Excluding one-time charges, the Cary convenience store chain reported net income of $8.4 million, or 37 cents a share, compared to 43 cents a share during the same period a year ago.
Net income for the fiscal year 2011 was $17.5 million or $0.78 per share, compared to earnings per share of $0.97 in the prior year.
That was below 99 cents per share, the consensus among analysts who follow the company.
The Pantry has more than 1,600 stores throughout the Southeast, primarily under the Kangaroo Express brand. Merchandise sales at those stores decreased .8 percent in the fourth quarter, compared to a 7.7 percent increase during the same period a year ago.
For the year, merchandise sales were down .2 percent.
In a statement, interim CEO Edwin Holman said next year would be a transitional period for the company and that actions are needed to improve comparable store sales.
He also said the company would focus on a pricing strategy that is intended to both improve merchandise sales and align gasoline volumes with industry trends.
North Carolina legislators are considering easing the rules on leaking underground gas storage tanks that represent a half-billion-dollar problem.
The website Clean Technica reports that Japanese inventor Akinori Ito has invented a device that will turn ordinary plastic shopping bags into gasoline.
The Environmental Protection Agency announced Friday that it has approved higher levels of corn-based ethanol in fuel for cars manufactured in the last decade.