Casey’s experienced significant growth during the first quarter of 2017, and further growth is expected throughout the remainder of the year.
Casey’s General Stores Inc. has released the company’s earnings for the first quarter of 2017, ending July 31, 2016. The company recorded diluted earnings per share of $1.70, compared to $1.57 per share for the same quarter last year.
“Fuel gross profit dollars increased 19.1% for the quarter as both same-store gallons and margin exceeded goal,” stated Terry Handley, president and CEO. “We were pleased with the performance inside our stores as gross profit dollars excluding fuel increased 6.7%, despite the recent weaknesses reported in the broader convenience and food service industries.”
Fuel – The company’s annual goal for fiscal 2017 is to increase same-store gallons sold 2% with an average margin of 18.4 cents per gallon. For the quarter, same-store gallons sold were up 3.1% with an average margin of 19.5 cents per gallon. The company sold 17.9 million renewable fuel credits for $14.7 million during the first quarter.
“Fuel margins finished above goal for the quarter due to elevated RIN values as well as a declining wholesale fuel cost environment experienced throughout the quarter,” said Handley. “Same-store gallons sold continue to benefit from lower retail fuel prices and increased miles driven throughout our operating territory.”
Total gallons sold for the quarter were up 6.9% to 536 million gallons.
Grocery and Other Merchandise – Casey’s annual goal for fiscal 2017 is to increase same-store sales 6.2% with an average margin of 32%. For the quarter, same-store sales were up 4.7% with an average margin of 31.6%.
“Same-store sales for the grocery and other merchandise category fell below goal due in part to a deceleration of cigarette sales from prior year,” said Handley.
Total grocery and other merchandise sales were up 7.5% to $566.2 million while total gross profit dollars increased 4.4% to $179.1 million.
Prepared Food and Fountain – The goal for fiscal 2017 is to increase same-store sales 10.2% with an average margin of 62.5%. Same-store sales for the quarter were up 5.1% with an average margin of 62.8%.
“Although many retailers in the food service industry have reported a recent softening in traffic, we continue to see strong sales lifts from stores that recently implemented one or more of our growth programs. We will continue our disciplined rollout of these programs,” said Handley. “The first quarter margin was above goal primarily due to lower commodity costs driven by the favorable cheese price locked in through December 2016.”
Total prepared food and fountain sales were up 9.1% to $243.7 million, and total gross profit dollars were up 9.6% to $153.1 million.
Operating Expenses – For the quarter, operating expenses were up 10.8% to $292.1 million.
“The increase was in line with our expectations, and primarily driven by operating more stores this year compared to the same period one year ago, as well as the continued rollout of the various growth programs,” said Handley.
Store-level operating expenses for the quarter were up 5.4% at stores not impacted by growth programs.
Expansion – The company’s annual goal for fiscal 2017 is to build or acquire 77 to 116 stores, replace 35 existing locations, and complete 100 major remodels. The company currently has 39 new stores under construction, including its first store in the state of Ohio, and did not open any new store constructions during the first quarter. The company also acquired three stores during the first quarter. In addition, the company has 72 sites under contract for future new builds, and eight acquisition stores under contract to purchase. The company also has 22 replacement stores under construction, and completed three replacements during the first quarter. Finally, the company has 15 major remodels under construction, and completed six major remodels during the first quarter.
“Our second distribution center in Terre Haute, Indiana, which became operational in February of 2016, opens new territory for future expansion. The state of Ohio will mark the Company’s 15th state of operation. We are excited about our future growth opportunities in both existing and new markets,” said Handley.
Dividend – At its September meeting, the Board of Directors declared a quarterly dividend of 24 cents per share. The dividend is payable November 15, 2016 to shareholders of record on November 1, 2016.