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The Pantry Posts Solid Gains for Quarter, Year

BY CSA STAFF

Sanford, N.C., C-store chain The Pantry Inc. posted net income of $13 million for its fourth quarter ended Sept. 30, more than double the $6.3 million it recorded in the year-ago period. Results were helped by a 40.9% boost in revenues to $1.03 billion and a 3.8% increase in same-store merchandise revenues.

For the full fiscal year, The Pantry’s net income grew 17.3% to $17.6 million. Excluding extraordinary expenses related to debt refinancing and the merchant’s secondary stock offering in January, The Pantry’s net income was $33.6 million. The retailer’s total revenues for fiscal 2004 were $3.49 billion vs. $2.75 billion the year before. Same-store merchandise revenues grew 3.4% for the year.

The Pantry’s results for the fourth quarter and fiscal year include one more week than it did in 2003.

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Survey Expects Boost in Gift Spending

BY CSA STAFF

St. Louis, Retailers can expect to benefit from a slight boost in sales as shoppers hit the aisles this holiday season. According to a recent Maritz Poll, consumers plan on spending an average of $50 more on gifts this season than in 2003.

The survey forecasts that the average consumer will spend more than $820 on gifts, up from last year’s average of $775, but still less than 2001’s estimated holiday spending of $845.

“Despite recent slips in the Consumer Confidence Index, our studies are showing a slow, steady increase in planned holiday spending,” said Gloria Park Bartolone, vice president of the Retail Research Group at Maritz Research. “The increase in anticipated gift spending is complemented by another Maritz Poll that shows consumers also are planning to spend more on holiday travel.”

Retailers could start seeing the benefits of holiday shopping sooner this year. More than one in 10 shoppers who took part in the Maritz Poll (13%) plan to start earlier this year than last year. The top three reasons for shopping earlier include: taking advantage of sales, having more money to spend and avoiding the crowds.

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G.I. Joe’s Gets New Investment Partner

BY CSA STAFF

Wilsonville, Ore., G.I. Joe’s Sports & Auto Stores has completed an $11.5-million investment agreement with Nogales Investors, a Los Angeles-based private equity firm. The specialty retailer says it will use the bulk of the funding to open new stores and to acquire new locations in the Northwest.

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