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    C-Store Operators Raise $2.4M for St. Jude's

    Casey's, Hess, TravelCenters of America recognized.

    MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Casey's General Stores Inc., Hess Corp., TravelCenters of America LLC and other partners were recognized here for raising millions during the 17th annual Halloween Promotion benefiting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in its fight against childhood cancer.

    The c-store operators, as well as Buffalo Wild Wings Inc., Fox & Hound Restaurant Group and Champps Entertainment Inc. accounted for more than 4,000 retail locations nationwide that participated in the Halloween Promotion. They collectively generated nearly half of the promotion’s 2008 fundraising goal of $5 million.

    In addition, MillerCoors LLC adopted the St. Jude Halloween Promotion as its official national Halloween project in 1994. Since the program began in 1992, MillerCoors, its distributors and retailers have raised millions of dollars for the children of St. Jude.

    During the month-long Halloween Promotion, participating businesses encouraged consumers to make a $1 donation to St. Jude to support its research and lifesaving care for kids battling catastrophic childhood diseases. In return for the contribution, the donors wrote their names on pumpkin-themed pinups, which the establishment displayed throughout the month of October.

    "We couldn’t be more thankful for the success of the St. Jude Halloween Promotion," said David L. McKee, chief operating officer and interim CEO of ALSAC, the fundraising organization of St. Jude. "We are so grateful to the many businesses and customers who are helping to make a difference for our precious patients. It is inspiring to see these companies join together to raise the money St. Jude needs to continue its lifesaving mission of finding cures and saving the lives of children in communities everywhere."

    St. Jude is the first and only pediatric cancer center to be designated as a Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute, founded by the late entertainer, Danny Thomas.

    In other Casey's news, healthy same-store sales growth prompted Morgan Keegan analyst John R. Lawrence to upgrade shares of the convenience store operator to "outperform" on Friday, according to an Associated Press report.

    Ankeny, Iowa-based Casey’s recently reported a 1-percent drop in fiscal second-quarter earnings and missed analyst expectations, as higher costs offset a 17-percent rise in revenue, according to the report. But the company's same-store sales caught analysts' attention. Grocery and other merchandise same-store sales rose 4.9 percent, while prepared food and fountain drinks same-store sales rose 9.3 percent.

    Lawrence said the company is benefiting from cash-squeezed consumers trading down to convenience stores for items, rather than shopping in pricier stores, according to the AP. A recent 30-percent pullback in share value is unjustified, given Casey's strong same-store sales, but creates an attractive entry point for investors, he said.

    The stock traded at more than $30 in November, but plunged earlier this month below $22 following Casey's quarterly report.

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