Casey's Reports Same-Store Sales Up 16.8%

Published in CSP Daily News

Offset decline in gas margins with strong sales, margin gains inside stores

ANKENY, Iowa -- Casey's General Stores Inc. has reported 61 cents in basic earnings per share for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012 ended April 30, 2012 compared to 60 cents for the same period a year ago. For the year, basic earnings per share were $3.07 versus $2.24. After adjusting for the $17.6 million post-tax impact of the costs associated with the hostile takeover attempt by Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc., basic earnings per share last year would have been $2.65.

"In the fourth quarter, the gas margin was down nearly two cents per gallon from the same period a year ago, which reduced basic earnings per share by approximately 12 cents," said president and CEO Robert J Myers. "We were pleased with our ability to offset this decline with strong sales and margin gains inside our stores. Inside gross profit dollars for the quarter were up nearly 19% and we are optimistic about our growth potential in fiscal 2013 with the various operational initiatives we are implementing."

Gasoline: In the fourth quarter, same-store gallons sold rose 2.5% with an average margin of 13.7 cents per gallon.

"Same-store gallons improved in the fourth quarter as we experienced more favorable weather compared to a year ago," said Myers. The company's annual goal was to increase same-store gasoline gallons sold 1% with an average margin of 13.5 cents per gallon. For the fiscal year, same-store gallons sold were down 1.5% with an average margin of 15.3 cents. Total gallons sold for the year were up 5.9% and gross profit dollars rose 6.8%.

Grocery & Other Merchandise: For the quarter, same-store sales rose 8.5% from the same period a year ago with an average margin of 33.0%.

"We continued to benefit from major remodels and stores converted to 24-hour operations," Myers said. "These initiatives, along with favorable weather, helped increase same store customer count 7.4% and drove total sales for the quarter up 12.7% from a year ago."

Gross profit dollars increased 15.9% for the fourth quarter and 15.1% for the fiscal year compared to prior periods. Casey's annual goal was to increase same-store sales 5.8% with an average margin of 32.8%. Same-store sales finished up 6.7% for fiscal 2012, with an average margin of 32.5%. Fiscal 2012 total sales were $1.4 billion, up 14.2% from a year ago.

Prepared Food & Fountain: Same-store sales for the quarter were up 16.8% from the same period a year ago. The average margin for the quarter was 60.8%, up 60 basis points from last year's fourth quarter, primarily due to lower commodity costs.

"The same-store sales lift in the quarter was impressive considering it was compared to an 11.8% increase last year," said Myers. "Major remodels and 24-hour conversions are having a significant impact on sales in this category, as is the expansion of our pizza delivery program." The goal for fiscal 2012 was to increase same-store sales 7.7% with an average margin of 61.8%. Same-store sales for fiscal 2012 were up 14.3% with an average margin of 60.7%. Total sales for the fiscal year were $499.7 million, up 20.3% from the previous year.

Operating Expenses: For the fiscal year, operating expenses increased 13.3% to $688.4 million. For the quarter, operating expenses were up 16.9%. After adjusting for the $16 million in expenses associated with the unsolicited offer by Couche-Tard in the prior year, expenses increased 16.4% for the fiscal year.

"Approximately $61 million of the operating expense increase for the year resulted from stores newly constructed, acquired or replaced in the past two fiscal years, along with the stores impacted by major remodels, 24-hour conversion and pizza delivery," said Myers. "We are excited about the profitability of all of these initiatives, and we will remain disciplined with their implementation."

Store-level operating expenses for the fiscal year increased less than 5% for the remaining store base.

Expansion: The annual goal was to increase the total number of stores 4% to 6%. For the fiscal year, the Ankeny, Iowa-based company achieved this goal by acquiring 35 stores and completing 30 new-store constructions, bringing the year-end store count to 1,699 in 11 states. In addition to this activity, the company also replaced 10 stores during the year

"We look forward to opening our first stores in Kentucky and Tennessee in fiscal 2013 [see Related Content below for previous CSP Daily News coverage] and remain optimistic about future growth opportunities as we expand our market," said Myers.

Fiscal 2013 Goals: The corporate performance goals for fiscal 2013 are as follows:

  • Increase same-store gasoline gallons sold 1% with an average margin of 14 cents per gallon
  • Increase same-store grocery and other merchandise sales 6.2% with an average margin of 32.7%
  • Increase same-store prepared food and fountain sales 11% with an average margin of 61.1%
  • Increase the total number of stores 4% to 6%. In addition, replace 20 stores and complete 50 to 75 major remodels.