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    C-Store Chain Pantry Hikes '05 Earnings Forecast on Gasoline Sales, Enhanced Merchandising

    SANFORD, N.C. -- Leading Southeastern c-store retailer Pantry, Inc. here yesterday raised its fiscal 2005 financial forecast, citing higher gasoline sales, recent rebranding efforts, and enhanced private label and food offerings for the brighter outlook. The company raised its guidance to a range between $2.55 and $2.60 per share.

    SANFORD, N.C. -- Leading Southeastern c-store retailer Pantry, Inc. here yesterday raised its fiscal 2005 financial forecast, citing higher gasoline sales, recent rebranding efforts, and enhanced private label and food offerings for the brighter outlook. The company raised its guidance to a range between $2.55 and $2.60 per share.

    The outlook includes charges of approximately $0.22 per share related to store closings, impairment charges, and uninsured losses associated with Hurricane Katrina, compared with the previous guidance range of $2.10 to $2.15. Diluted earnings per share for fiscal 2004, excluding a number of financing-related charges, were $1.54. Comparable store merchandise sales and gasoline gallons sold for fiscal 2005 increased 5.3 percent and 4.7 percent, respectively.

    "These excellent preliminary annual results reflect the success of our strategies implemented over the past few years to better diversify and secure our gasoline supply, rebrand and reimage our stores, and enhance our merchandising offerings with private label and expanded food services," said president and c.e.o. Peter J. Sodini in a statement. "In addition, our fourth fiscal quarter benefited from the acquisitions we completed in the latter half of the year and an exceptionally strong contribution from our gasoline segment in a very volatile market. These benefits were partially offset by charges related to our decision to close 19 underperforming stores."

    For fiscal 2006, the company expects fiscal 2006 earnings per share to range between $2.55 and $2.65.

    The Pantry, Inc. is the leading independently operated convenience store chain in the southeastern United States; and one of the largest independently operated convenience store chains in the country, with 1,400 stores in 11 states under a number of banners including Kangaroo Express, Cowboys, and Golden Gallon.

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