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    ACT Reaps Big Growth

    New stores and improved management contribute to 144 percent earnings spike.

    LAVAL, Quebec -- Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc., the North American convenience store giant with more than 1,800 units in Canada and the United States, reported sterling growth in the company's fiscal third quarter ended Feb. 3.

    The company's net earnings climbed 144.4 percent from a year ago, boosted from earlier acquisitions of 227 stores in the Midwestern United States, combined with impressive internal growth. Despite a sluggish economy, same-store sales grew by 7.5 percent, the company reported.

    "We are highly confident that we can close the financial year ending in April with strong growth, due mainly to the contribution of our operations in the United States over ten months of the year, combined with the benefits of our network expansion and differentiation strategy, which will have been applied to about one hundred additional stores in fiscal 2001-2002," said company President and CEO Alain Bouchard.

    Overall, the company said it earned C$10.2 million ($6.5 million) in the quarter.

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