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Rebound in Customer Traffic Boosts Casey's Earnings

In-store sales grow 8%, fuel gallons up 9% in first quarter of fiscal year
Photograph courtesy of Casey's General Stores

ANKENY, Iowa — Casey’s General Stores Inc. saw both in-store and fuel sales bounce back in the three months ending July 31 from last year’s pandemic-pressured lows.

During the first quarter of the company’s fiscal 2022, inside same-store sales increased 8% compared to prior year with a margin of 40.5%. Total inside gross profit increased 16.7% to $463.5 million compared to the same period last year.

Similarly, fuel gallons increased 9% on a same-store basis compared to the prior year with a fuel margin of 35.1 cents per gallon. Total fuel gross profit increased 11.6% to $234.5 million compared to the same period last year.

“Casey’s achieved strong financial results in the first quarter,” said Darren Rebelez, president and CEO. “Total revenue was up across the board as guest traffic returned throughout the quarter.”

Inside same-store sales were driven by strong performances in packaged beverages, grocery items such as salty snacks and meat snacks, as well as a resurgence in pizza slices, driven in part by improved guest traffic, the company said.

Inside margin grew following chainwide product mix shifts, both within and across categories, and procurement initiatives. “Inside gross profit was up almost 17% due in part to the merchandise resets and strategic sourcing initiatives the company implemented earlier this calendar year,” Rebelez said.

Also, private label products reached 4.4% share of the chain’s grocery and general merchandise category.

In fuel, same-store gallons sold were positively impacted by higher guest traffic from lapping COVID-19 restrictions that were in place a year ago, the company said. The chain’s total fuel gross profit was up 11.6% vs. the prior first quarter, as the increased volume was offset by a lower fuel margin environment. The company sold $18.7 million in renewable fuel credits (RINs) in the first quarter, an increase of $15.3 million from the same quarter in the prior year.

The chain also saw operating expenses increase 24% during the first quarter primarily due to restoring store operating hours to pre-COVID levels, operating 166 more stores than this time last year, a 39% increase in credit-card fees from higher retail fuel pricing along with higher sales volume, and the one-time transaction and integration costs associated with the company’s acquisition of Buchanan Energy and 48 c-stores in Oklahoma from Circle K.

We welcomed the team members from the Buchanan Energy and Circle K acquisitions to the Casey's family and integration activities are well under way,” Rebelez said. “Our balance sheet remains strong, and we are confident in our ability to achieve the previously stated fiscal 2022 outlook.”

Casey’s General Stores, Ankeny, Iowa, is No. 4 on CSP’s 2021 Top 202 ranking of U.S. c-store chains by store count. Following the recent acquisitions, Casey’s store count stands at more than 2,300 locations.

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