Casey's Same-Store Sales Success

C-store chain reports record profits for fiscal year 2016

Casey's General Store

ANKENY, Iowa -- Casey’s General Stores Inc. increased same-store sales by more than 7% during its fiscal year 2016, achieving record earnings for the year.

The convenience-store chain reported diluted earnings per share of $1.19 for the fourth quarter of the fiscal year that ended April 30, compared to $1.05 for the same period a year ago. For the year, diluted earnings per share grew 24% to $5.73 vs. $4.62 for the same period last year.

“Fiscal 2016 was an exciting year for Casey’s. We successfully opened our second distribution center in Terre Haute, Ind., and launched our mobile app in conjunction with rolling out online ordering across all our stores,” said Terry Handley, president and CEO. “Total gross profit was up over 12% for the year and the company is positioned well for continued strong performance in fiscal 2017.”

Fuel

The company’s annual goal for fiscal 2016 was to increase same-store gallons sold 2% with an average margin of 16.7 cents per gallon. For the year, same-store gallons sold were up 3% with an average margin of 19.6 cents per gallon. For the quarter, same-store gallons rose 4.6% with an average margin of 17.8 cents per gallon. The company sold 12.7 million renewable fuel credits for $9.1 million in the fourth quarter.

“Same-store gallons sold benefited from lower retail fuel prices throughout the fiscal year," said Handley. “The fuel margin remained strong throughout the year, aided in part by favorable renewable fuel credit values.” For fiscal 2016, total gallons sold were up 7.4% to 2 billion, while gross profit rose 8.7% to $381.7 million.

Grocery and Other Merchandise

Casey’s goal was to increase same-store sales 6.2% with an average margin of 32.1%. For the year, same-store sales were up 7.1% with an average margin of 31.9%. For the fourth quarter, same-store sales were up 7.4% with an average margin of 32.1%.

“For the year, cigarette sales continued to lead the category as customers traded up to premium brands in response to lower retail fuel prices,” said Handley. “The margin fell slightly below goal primarily due to the increased contribution of cigarettes to the category, however, gross profit dollars rose 9.3% to $629.2 million.”

For the year, total sales were up 10% to $2 billion.

Prepared Food and Fountain

Casey’s annual goal was to increase same-store sales 10.4% with an average margin of 60.8%. For the year, same-store sales were up 8.4% with an average margin of 62.5%. For the fourth quarter, same-store sales were up 8.2% with an average margin of 61.9%.

“Several of our ongoing growth programs were implemented toward the end of fiscal 2016, which contributed to same-store sales falling below our annual goal in the back half of the year. We also cycled against strong results from the same period a year ago,” said Handley. “The margin for the fiscal year was up 280 basis points from the prior fiscal year as we benefited from lower commodity costs. We are optimistic about this category going forward as we have implemented online ordering in all our stores, locked in favorable cheese costs through December 2016 and continue to roll out major remodels, 24-hour conversions and pizza delivery.”

For fiscal 2016, total sales were up 12.8% to $880.7 million, and gross profit dollars were up 18.1% at $550.3 million.

Operating Expenses

For the fiscal year, operating expenses increased 9.7% to $1.1 billion. For the fourth quarter, operating expenses were up 12.9%.

“The primary reason for the increase for both year-to-date and fourth quarter was due to operating more stores compared to the same periods a year ago, along with the various growth programs impacting our existing stores,” said Handley.

Expansion

The company’s annual goal was to build or acquire 75 to 113 stores, replace 10 existing locations and complete 100 major remodels. For the fiscal year, the company completed 51 new-store constructions and acquired five stores. The company also completed 11 replacement stores and 102 major remodels.

“We have dedicated more resources to our store development area over the past year. As a result, we currently have a robust pipeline of projects with 21 stores under construction and an additional 75 sites under contract for future new-store construction, including numerous sites in Ohio,” said Handley. “With our new distribution center in Terre Haute, we can efficiently build or acquire in a considerably larger geographical footprint.”

Fiscal 2017 Goals

The corporate performance goals for fiscal 2017 are to increase same-store fuel gallons sold 2% with an average margin of 18.4 cents per gallon; increase same-store grocery and other merchandise sales 6.2% with an average margin of 32%; increase same-store prepared food and fountain sales 10.2% with an average margin of 62.5%; and build or acquire 77 to 116 stores, replace 35 existing locations and complete 100 major remodels.

Casey's, based in Ankeny, Iowa, operates approximately 1,930 convenience stores in 14 states throughout the Midwest.