Stripes are in, Circles are out at Susser Holdings. The company operates about 550 Stripes convenience stores in Texas, New Mexico, and Oklahoma. (The company's Circle K stores were converted to the Stripes name several years ago.) The chain offers restaurant service in about 340 of its stores, primarily under its proprietary Laredo Taco Company (LTC) brand. LTC serves up breakfast and lunch tacos, rotisserie chicken, and other hot foods. Susser Holdings is the largest independent c-store operator and non-refining motor fuel distributor through Susser Petroleum in Texas. (Fuel accounts for more than 80% of total sales.) Founded by Sam J. Susser in 1938, the company is now run by his son.
Susser Holdings in September 2012 took its subsidiary Susser Petroleum public through the formation of a master limited partnership that operates the wholesale fuel business (~30% of sales). Susser raised nearly $210 million through the IPO, which it plans to use to build or acquire more convenience stores and to repay debt. Susser Petroleum distributes branded motor fuel to some 565 independent dealers in Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Louisiana. In 2011 Susser Petroleum acquired the assets of Dallas/Fort Worth-based Community Fuels of Texas, LP, increasing its presence in the D/FW and East Texas markets.
Susser Holdings' operations include retail convenience stores, retail fuel sales, and wholesale motor fuel distribution. The company's 540-plus Stripes stores sell about 10 different brands (including Chevron, Exxon, Shell, and Valero) of fuel, almost all of its purchased from its wholesale arm Susser Petroleum.
Texans' thirst for fuel and food propelled Susser's sales to more than $5 billion in 2011. Sales increased 32% in 2011 vs. 2010, driven by a 36% gain in retail fuel sales, a 41% increase in wholesale fuel revenue, and an increase in merchandise sales of more than 9%. The company's total gross profit for the year increased nearly 18% vs. 2010. Retail fuel sales benefitted from an 28% increase in the average retail price of fuel and about a 7% increase in gallons sold. Susser's sales has grown by about 130% since the company went public in 2006. Over that time, the convenience store chain has built or acquired more than 200 stores, all of which -- since the conversion of the last of its Town & Country stores to the Stripes banner in 2011 -- trade under the Stripes name.
Susser's business has benefitted from the relative strength of the Texas economy, particularly during the recession, and its integrated retail/wholesale business model. While food service and merchandise (including beer, candy and cigarettes) sales account for about a quarter of the chain's sales, they return nearly 60% of its gross profit. To capitalize on the higher margins returned by prepared foods and its private-label fountain drinks, the company is expanding its menu, promoting its food service offering, and fine tuning its store hours to more capture hungry customers. (Food service accounted for more than 21% of sales in 2011 vs. 20% two years ago.) Susser is also growing its retail presence, focusing its expansion on the area along the Texas border between Brownsville and Laredo, and the Houston area. It is also evaluating other growth markets.
Wellspring Capital owns nearly a third of the company's shares, while CEO Sam L. Susser owns about 11%. – less