EL DORADO, Ark. — Recording a fifth consecutive quarter of same-store fuel volume growth, Murphy USA reported one of its “best quarters” since its spinoff from parent Murphy Oil in 2013, officials said.
Third-quarter adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) was $159 million, with year-over-year growth in both fuel and merchandise. Third-quarter fuel volumes grew 2.7% on a same-store basis and 3.6% on an average per-store monthly basis, said Andrew Clyde, president and CEO of Murphy USA, in an Oct. 31 earnings call. The increases meant a fifth straight quarter of same-store fuel volume growth for the company.
Total fuel contribution dollars showed a 31% increase to $225.6 million, with retail pricing strategies helping achieve both volume and unit margin growth.
“While the fourth quarter will be a difficult comp from a larger perspective given the roughly 75-cents-per-gallon falloff in the fourth quarter of last year, we continue to see year-over-year volume improvements in October at good margins,” Clyde said.
Merchandise data showed total contribution dollars grew 6.4% to just more than $111 million, with strength in both tobacco and nontobacco categories. “We continue to take share in all tobacco categories with higher unit volumes driving increases in both sales and margin dollars, which were up 10.3% and 11.3%, respectively,” Clyde said.
In categories other than tobacco, total margin dollars were up 3.1%, with strength in general merchandise, snacks and beer. Enrollment in its Murphy Drive Rewards program hit 2.6 million members at the end of the third quarter, with another 8 million participants who could still access value on certain tobacco programs, Clyde said. “As we said in prior calls, customers continue to engage with the [loyalty] program, and we are seeing early signs of behavior changes, including more frequent trips, more gallons purchased and higher merchandise sales,” he said.
Revenue for the third quarter was a $3.7 billion vs. $3.8 billion in the year-ago period, said Mindy West, executive vice president and CFO of El Dorado, Ark.-based Murphy USA. Lower retail gasoline prices caused the revenue decline, but higher fuel gallons sold and higher merchandise sales helped offset the difference. Average retail gasoline prices per gallon during the quarter were $2.38 vs. $2.61 in 2018, West said.