Susser: Pump Island Not Key to Boosting Inside Traffic

Oil Express – News Alert

2013-11-06 01:00:22 EST

While many in the industry ponder just how to get more fuel customers into their
convenience stores, publicly held Susser Holdings Corp., of Houston, isn’t
worried about it.

Because of the installation of card readers at the pump islands, industry
research has shown two-thirds or more of the fuel customers just gas up and go
without making an additional purchase.

However, Sam Susser, CEO and chairman of both Susser Holdings Corp. and Susser
Petroleum Partners LP, just told analysts in an earnings call today that the
company has been studying the issue for years. And Susser thinks many customers
are simply on a mission to buy fuel and will not be diverted inside.

Susser’s roomy Stripes convenience stores are reeling in customers several times
per week with higher-margin food service, particularly its Laredo Taco Co.
operations, which are now in 64% of its 576 stores. People typically only gas up
just once or twice a week, he said.

The fresh food business also accounts for about 30% of the Stripes chain’s gross
profit dollars, Susser pointed out.

He noted that there are some recent initiatives in the industry that are
designed to snag additional sales at the pump island — vending machines
offering beverages and lottery ticket dispensers — and the company may give
them a try to see if it generates incremental sales.

But for the most part, Susser is counting on that gas-only customer to make
separate return trips to eat out at the Stripes restaurant operations.

–Donna Harris, dharris@opisnet.com

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