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    United Refining's Retail Division Narrows Loss

    Parent of Kwik Fill, Red Apple and Country Fair reports strong fuel margins.

    WARREN, Pa. -- United Refining Co.'s retail division suffered a loss of $5.9 million in its 2014 fiscal second-quarter, but that number was narrower than the $8.6 million the company lost during the same timeframe in 2013. 

    Fuel margins were especially strong at the operator of 359 Kwik Fill, Red Apple and Country Fair convenience stores, located primarily in western New York and western Pennsylvania. The company enjoyed a 16.8-cent-per-gallon fuel margin in its latest quarter ended Feb. 28, compared to 12 cents in its 2013 second quarter.

    During today's earnings call, which lasted just nine minutes, United Refining executives did not elaborate on why retail fuel margins were so strong. 

    Regarding merchandise margins, results were virtually flat. The retail division achieved a 25-percent margin on in-store items, compared to 25.6 percent one year ago. Chief Financial Officer James Murphy attributed the slightly lower merchandise margin to weaker margins on tobacco products.

    The CFO said during the call that he was pleased with the company's retail quarter overall, despite "difficult weather conditions in its operating region."

    Along with its retail division, Warren, Pa.-based United Refining operates a 70,000 barrel-per-day refinery. Companywide, the business earned a fiscal second-quarter profit of $57.7 million, a decrease of $5.9 million compared to the same timeframe in 2013.

    United Refining maintains a strong cash position of $172.3 million, as well as an additional $175 million in a revolving credit facility.

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