The Pantry, Inc. (NASDAQ: PTRY), a leading independently operated convenience store chain in the southeastern U.S., today mailed to all stockholders additional materials recommending that all stockholders vote FOR The Pantry’s highly qualified and experienced director nominees on the WHITE proxy card. The mailing has been filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission and is available on the Company’s website at www.thepantry.com. Selected highlights are below: YOUR BOARD AND MANAGEMENT TEAM ARE LEADING THE COMPANY FORWARD With 1,538 stores in 13 states, The Pantry is the fourth largest independently operated convenience store retailer in the U.S. Our footprint is concentrated in southeastern markets with high population growth, giving us significant upside potential as a leader in these regions. OVER THE LAST TWO YEARS, THE PANTRY’S BOARD AND MANAGEMENT TEAM HAVE IMPLEMENTED MEANINGFUL CHANGES TO POSITION THE COMPANY FOR SUSTAINED, PROFITABLE GROWTH.
- Brought in new CEO, Dennis Hatchell, in 2012 to lead the Company
- Attracted leading talent to The Pantry to further strengthen the senior leadership team
- Reduced debt through continued discipline around capital expenditures and strong free cash flow
- Completed a strategic and in-depth operational review supported by a globally recognized consulting firm to identify key areas of focus to create meaningful stockholder value
- Increased same-store sales through a more effective merchandise mix
- Initiated a significant remodel program to enhance store base and strengthen brand
- Utilized new store opportunities and acquisitions to accelerate growth and strengthen The Pantry’s competitive position in key markets
- Strong relationships with top-tier franchisors such as Subway
- Our new partnership with Little Caesars: five locations opened, three in construction and 10 more approved
- Opened eight new QSRs in 2013 with more than 20 QSR build-outs planned for 2014
- 223 QSRs in operation today, with over 500 additional sites identified for potential QSR expansion
- Despite the competitive marketplace, approximately 75% of our market is made up of small chains or single stores, allowing us to leverage our significant scale
- Our strategy is to stabilize, then regain gallon market share
- Improvement in market share will not be at the expense of profitability
- Recently implemented state-of-the-art technology and cost management tools to optimize fuel pricing and minimize volatility
- Installed electronic fuel price signs in nearly 1,000 stores, with plans to add 150 more in fiscal 2014
- Utilizing technology and analytics to realize early success from several initiatives underway in test markets
- The current Board and management team have been deliberate and careful in implementing changes to our fuel strategy, given the significant competition in the marketplace
- KATHLEEN GUION
Kathleen most recently served as Division President of Store Operation and Development at Dollar General Corporation, where she led a team of 90,000 store employees, 100 directors and 14 Vice Presidents. Her previous experience also includes having served as the President and COO of E-Z Serve Corporation (southeastern U.S. c-store chain) and Vice President and General Manager at 7-Eleven Corporation.
- TAD DICKSON
- They have NOT articulated any plan to drive growth or improve profitability
- Their nominees do NOT have relevant operating experience within the convenience store, QSR or fuel sectors
- They did NOT engage with the Company in a constructive dialogue with specific recommendations—instead pursuing a costly, disruptive proxy contest
- Upward trend in merchandise same-store sales with the latest quarter showing the largest increase since Q3 2012;
- Rapid growth in proprietary food service revenue; and
- Implementation of management disciplines and technology to aggressively address our fuel market share underperformance
Your Vote Is Important, No Matter How Many Or How Few Shares You Own.If you have questions about how to vote your shares, or need additional assistance, please contact the firm assisting us in the solicitation of proxies: INNISFREE M&A INCORPORATED Stockholders Call Toll-Free: (888) 750-5834 Banks and Brokers May Call Collect: (212) 750-5833 REMEMBER: We urge you NOT to sign any Gold proxy card sent to you by JCP Investment Management, LLC. If you have already done so, you have every right to change your vote by signing, dating and returning the enclosed WHITE proxy card TODAY in the postage-paid envelope provided. If you hold your shares in Street-name, your custodian may also enable voting by telephone or by Internet—please follow the simple instructions provided on your WHITE proxy card. Safe Harbor Statement Statements made by the Company in this letter relating to future plans, events, or financial condition or performance are “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements can generally be identified by the use of words such as “expect,” “plan,” “anticipate,” “intend,” “outlook,” “guidance,” “believes,” “should,” “target,” “goal,” “forecast,” “will,” “may” or words of similar meaning. These forward-looking statements are based on the Company’s current plans and expectations and involve a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results and events to vary materially from the results and events anticipated or implied by such forward-looking statements. Any number of factors could affect actual results and events, including, without limitation, the potential cost and management distraction attendant to the dissident group’s nomination of director nominees at the 2014 Annual Meeting of Stockholders, the ability of management to increase profitability as a result of technology enhancements, cost management efforts and store remodels, and new store openings and acquisitions. These and other risk factors are discussed in the Company’s most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and in its other filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”), and should be considered carefully. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on such forward looking statements. In addition, the forward-looking statements included in this letter are based on the Company’s estimates and plans as of March 2, 2014. While the Company may elect to update these forward-looking statements at some point in the future, it specifically disclaims any obligation to do so.
Important Additional InformationThe Pantry has filed a definitive proxy statement and form of white proxy card with the SEC on February 13, 2014 and commenced mailing the definitive proxy statement and white proxy card to The Pantry’s stockholders in connection with its 2014 Annual Meeting of Stockholders. THE PANTRY STOCKHOLDERS ARE STRONGLY ENCOURAGED TO READ THE DEFINITIVE PROXY STATEMENT AND ACCOMPANYING WHITE PROXY CARD, AND ANY OTHER PROXY MATERIALS FILED WITH THE SEC WHEN THEY BECOME AVAILABLE AS THEY CONTAIN IMPORTANT INFORMATION. The Pantry, its directors and certain of its executive officers are deemed to be participants in the solicitation of proxies from The Pantry’s stockholders in connection with the matters to be considered at The Pantry’s 2014 Annual Meeting of Stockholders. Information regarding the identity of participants, and their direct or indirect interests, by security holdings or otherwise, is set forth in the definitive proxy statement and other materials filed with the SEC in connection with The Pantry’s 2014 Annual Meeting of Stockholders. Stockholders may obtain any proxy statement, any amendments or supplements to the proxy statement and other documents filed by The Pantry with the SEC for no charge at the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov. Copies are also available at no charge at The Pantry’s website at www.thepantry.com, by writing to The Pantry at 305 Gregson Drive, Cary, North Carolina 27511, Attention: Secretary or by calling The Pantry’s proxy solicitor, Innisfree M&A Incorporated, toll-free at (888) 750-5834.