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Sozzi: Auntie Anne's Business Is Doing Just Fine

June 8, 2016 2:12 pm
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Sozzi: Auntie Anne's Business Is Doing Just Fine

Have you been to a mall lately? If so, chances are you observed that foot traffic isn’t quite the same it has been in prior years. Call this the Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) effect, as the online retailer is crushing traditional retailers.

With that said, it might be a bit of a surprise to discover there is one mall-based operator whose business is doing just fine. According to The Street’s retail expert Brian Sozzi, Auntie Anne’s, the soft pretzel maker, has grown its top line in recent years at a time when core mall tenants are suffering.

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Auntie Anne’s President Heather Neary told Sozzi that company is “still growing,” people are still going to malls “and they want to snack while they are there.” She quipped that this trend “won’t go away anytime soon.”

Auntie Anne’s was acquired by Focus Brands in 2010, when it operated 1,100 stores in 44 states and 21 countries. Today, the company has more than 1,600 locations in 44 states and 25 countries.

Auntie Anne’s has been expanding its business to non-traditional mall locations and is now located in 140 Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) locations. Neary explained that the company is “looking for foot traffic” wherever it can find it.

The global pretzel market is expected to grow at a compounded annual growth rate of over 2 percent through 2020 where it will be a $7 billion market, Sozzi noted. However, he was told by the company’s executive that it management has no plans on issuing stock to the public.

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