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DALLAS-It looks like Big Gulps and Slurpees have beenselling well during this hotter-than-usual summer as7-Eleven Inc.’s domestic same-store sales for grew 5%during the second quarter, on top of a 7.1% increasein the second quarter of 2004.Including the second quarter 2005, 7-Eleven has posted35 consecutive quarters of increased US same-store merchandise sales. Those strong same-store sales propelled total merchandise sales for the quarter to $2.2 billion, an increase of 6.5%.

Revenue and earnings also increased substantially.Total revenues for the second quarter grew 9.1% to$3.4 billion. The chain attributes the growth toincreased sales of fresh food, hot and cold beverages, cigarettes and services.

Specifically, non-carbonated beverage sales were up substantially, according to 7-Eleven president and CEO Jim Keyes. Nutritional drinks such as Gatorade were up 32%, he says, adding that new beverage introductions also kicked sales into high gear. In particular, the new Big Gulp Soda Float, which allows customers to add an ice cream topper to their Big Gulps to create an instant ice cream float, was a big hit. The chain is looking forward to introducing a new Big Gulp Soda in the third quarter, which will allow for the roll-out of a new Big Gulp mug.

“We’re very pleased to report the continued and steady improvements of our financial performance,” Keyes said during the chain’s quarterly earnings call. Second quarter net earnings spiked 20% to $57.2 million, or 45 cents per diluted share, compared to net earnings of $47 million, or 38 cents per diluted share, in the same quarter a year ago. 7-Eleven reaffirmed its annual guidance of $1.12 to $1.16 per diluted share.

During the second quarter, 7-Eleven, which operatesglobally, opened its 28,469th store.

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