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    7-Eleven's Loss Narrows

    DALLAS - 7-Eleven Inc.'s loss narrowed in the latest quarter, pared by increased revenue and merchandise sales at the convenience store chain.

    DALLAS - 7-Eleven Inc.'s loss narrowed in the latest quarter, pared by increased revenue and merchandise sales at the convenience store chain.

    The company reported a loss of $6.1 million, or 5 cents a share, for the fourth quarter. That compares with the previous year's loss of $11.5 million, or 11 cents a share, in the same period.

    Core earnings, which exclude nonoperating items, rose to $6.1 million, or 5 cents a share, from $2.6 million, or 2 cents a share. The core earnings for the latest quarter matched the average estimate in a Thomson First Call survey of analysts.

    Revenue for the quarter rose about 9 percent to $2.72 billion from $2.5 billion.

    Fourth-quarter merchandise sales rose 7.1 percent to $1.9 billion. There was a 5.2 percent increase in U.S. merchandise sales on a same-store basis, which generally refers to stores open at least a year.

    For all of last year, earnings rose to $64.1 million, or 58 cents a share. That compares with $12.8 million, or 13 cents a share, for 2002.

    Revenue rose 10 percent to $10.9 billion from $9.9 billion.
    Shares of 7-Eleven finished at $16.77 Thursday, up 66 cents, or 4.1 percent, on the New York Stock Exchange.

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