SuperAmerica Seeks Bigger Store Count

TEMPE, Ariz. — Northern Tier Energy LP will look to add both company-operated SuperAmerica and franchised convenience store locations in the near-term, President and CEO Dave Lamp stated during Tuesday's 2014 fiscal third-quarter earnings call.

Lamp did not discuss how many SuperAmerica and franchised locations the Tempe-based master limited partnership (MLP) plans to add short term. But he did note that construction projects are already underway to build new stores.

Northern Tier currently operates 165 SuperAmerica c-stores, primarily in Minnesota and Wisconsin. The MLP also supports 82 franchised locations.

"Operating performance was solid," Lamp said during the call regarding third-quarter results for Northern Tier's retail division. In its latest quarter ended Sept. 30, retail operating income rose to $5.8 million, compared to $4.4 million in its 2013 third quarter.

A main driver was fuel gallons sold at company-operated and franchised operations combined, which rose 2 percent year over year to 99 million gallons. Fuel margin per gallon increased by a penny to 20 cents per gallon.

Merchandise sales at SuperAmerica were another strong point, rising $900,000 to $95.7 million. Merchandise margins rose 0.9 percent to 25.7 percent during the latest quarter.

Total company profits were an even more impressive story, improving more than threefold to $96.2 million, vs. $27.2 million in the year-ago period.

"We had a very strong quarter in which we safely achieved our highest-ever quarterly throughput," said Lamp. "Advantaged crude oil prices, solid margins and an improved capture rate enabled us to deliver the largest quarterly distributions to our investors in more than a year."

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