Company News

Casey’s Exceeds $1 Billion in EBITDA for First Time in C-Store Chain’s History

Convenience retailer sets record for year amid concerns about consumer economic health
casey's general stores convenience stores
Photograph, image courtesy of Casey's General Stores

Casey’s General Stores Inc. reported net income of $502 million for its full-year 2024, up 12% from $446.7 million in 2023, and—for the first time—at $1.06 billion, earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) reached and surpassed $1 billion. That is up 11% from $952.5 million in the prior year.

The convenience-store retailer reported $87 million for its fiscal fourth-quarter 2024, up 55% from $56.1 million in fourth-quarter 2023, and EBITDA of $219 million, up 32% from $166 million from the same period a year ago.

The company attributes the increases primarily to higher inside and higher fuel gross profit, partially offset by higher operating expense due to operating 137 additional stores.

“Casey’s started its three-year strategic plan with a record fiscal year, exceeding $1 billion in EBITDA for the first time in the company’s history,” said Darren Rebelez, president and CEO. “Inside same-store sales were outstanding, up 4.4%, or 11.2% on a two-year stack basis, led by strong performance in pizza and bakery as well as alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages. Strong sales growth was accomplished while improving inside margin. Our fuel team achieved market share gains while striking the right balance between fuel gallon growth and gross profit margin throughout the year to drive fuel gross profit up 3.9% from the prior year. The operations team did a tremendous job driving sales growth, while integrating new stores and reducing same-store labor hours for the eighth consecutive quarter.”

The Numbers

For the quarter, total inside sales of $1.3 billion were up 11.9% from $1.1 billion, and total inside gross profit of $517.6 million was up 16.2% from $445.5 million. Inside same-store sales were up 5.6%, or 12.4% on a two-year stack basis, with an inside margin of 41.2%, driven by strong performance in hot sandwiches and dispensed beverage in the prepared food and dispensed beverage category as well as nonalcohol and alcohol beverages in the grocery and general merchandise category. Casey’s recorded strong prepared food and dispensed beverage growth driven by innovations including thin-crust pizza and a refreshed lunch sandwich menu. Inside margin was up 160 basis points for the quarter primarily due to mix shift, modest retail price adjustments and strong cost of goods management, the company said.

For the year, total inside sales of $5.2 billion were up 8.8% from $4.8 billion, and total inside gross profit of $2.1 billion was up 11.8% from $1.9 billion. Inside same-store sales were up 4.4%, with an inside margin of 39.9%,

Fuel same-store gallons of 695 million were up 0.9% for the period, versus 636 million for fourth-quarter 2023, with a fuel margin of 36.5 cents per gallon (CPG). Total fuel gross profit increased 15.4% to $253.6 million compared to $219.7 million for the previous year’s quarter.

Fuel same-store gallons of 2.83 billion were up 5.8% for the year, versus 2.72 billion for 2023, with a fuel margin of 39.5 CPG. Total fuel gross profit increased 3.9% to $1.12 billion compared to $1.07 billion for the prior year.

Total operating expenses increased 11% for the fourth quarter to $579 million, compared to $522 million in fourth-quarter 2023. Approximately 6% of the increase is due to operating 137 more stores than a year ago. Approximately 2% of the increase was due to same-store employee expense. Approximately 1% of the change is related to an increase in accrued costs for incentive compensation due to strong financial performance. Also, approximately 1% of the increase was due to discretionary charitable giving and a special team member bonus, the company said.

Total operating expenses increased 8% for 2024 to $2.3 billion, compared to $2.1 billion in 2023.

Risks and Rewards

The gains come as consumers continue to be concerned about inflation and the economy, creating risk for retailers of all kinds, but also could create opportunities as people seek out value.

Consumer [economic] health is probably the single biggest risk, and thats a risk for everyone in retail,” Rebelez said on the company’s earnings call on Wednesday. “But because weve been able to maintain a strong value proposition and preserve margins at the same time. I feel really good thatwe stand to benefit from that risk, actually. And if consumer wallets get a little bit tighter, well probably be more of a beneficiary of that impact than a victim of it.

Casey’s Rewards members grew to 7.9 million by the end of the year, the company said.

The company built or acquired 154 stores in the fiscal year, ending with 2,658 stores, and it entered Texas, its 17th state, with the acquisition of W. Douglass Distributing Ltd.’s 22 Lone Star Food Stores. Looking ahead, Casey’s expects to add at least 100 stores in fiscal 2025 through a mix of mergers-and acquisitions (M&A) and new store construction.

Casey’s expects EBITDA to increase at least 8% in 2025. The company expects inside same-store sales to increase 3% to 5% and inside margin comparable to fiscal 2024. It expects same-store fuel gallons sold to be between negative 1% to positive 1%. The company expects total operating expenses to increase approximately 6% to 8%. And Casey’s expects net interest expense to be approximately $56 million, depreciation and amortization to be approximately $390 million and the purchase of property and equipment to be approximately $575 million. It expects the tax rate to be approximately 24% to 26% for the year.

In other company news, Casey’s has appointed Maria Castañón Moats to its board of directors, effective July 1, following her retirement from PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC) on June 30. She will be the 11th director. With more than 30 years of public accounting experience, Castañón Moats currently is a partner and the leader of PwC’s Governance Insights Center. From 2016 to 2019, she was PwC’s vice-chair for Mexico and U.S. assurance leader; from 2011 to 2016, she was PwC’s chief diversity officer. Throughout her career, Castañón Moats has provided accounting, financial reporting, investigations and M&A services to private and public clients across the retail, consumer and industrial products industries.

  • Casey’s General Stores is No. 3 on CSP’s 2024 Top 202 ranking of U.S. c-store chains by store count.

Ankeny, Iowa-based Casey’s General Stores operates more than 2,650 convenience stores in the greater Midwestern states under the Casey’s and GoodStop brands and in Texas under the Lone Star Food Stores brand. The company is the third-largest convenience-store retailer, the fourth-largest holder of liquor licenses and the fifth-largest pizza chain in the United States.

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