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ANKENY, Iowa -- In December, Casey's General Stores Inc. said it would convert 150 more of its stores to a 24-hour format by the end of January, adding to the more than 70 locations it had already converted. During a conference call this morning, Casey's executives reported that the convenience store chain did indeed hit that mark, and the company is continuing to rethink its operating hours.
"We have converted 220 stores to this format in the past 12 months," said Casey's CFO William Walljasper. "We're very encouraged by this transition. Most of the conversions have taken place in larger urban areas."
While 24-hour locations are not necessary in smaller rural areas where Casey's operates, Walljasper noted that the c-store retailer is continuing to look into extending store hours beyond its traditional 6 a.m.-to-11 p.m. timeframe in those lesser-populated areas.
These new 24-hour convenience stores led Casey's to improved fiscal third-quarter 2012 earnings vs. the same period in 2011. For the quarter ending Jan. 31, Casey's earned a net profit of approximately $16.74 million, compared to about $12.9 million during the same quarter in 2011.
Store remodels and acquisitions also contributed to the bottom line, the CFO remarked. For its entire 2012 fiscal year, which ends April 30, Walljasper said Casey's will have acquired 35 stores and remodeled another 30. The Iowa company plans to complete several more remodels in fiscal 2013.
"We want to accelerate new store constructions [and remodels]," he said. "They have been very well-received in the communities thus far."
Casey's also plans to keep expanding its pizza delivery service, which it debuted last year.
"We added that program to 26 stores in November," Walljasper said. "We were so encouraged by pizza delivery that we added it to 50 more stores on Feb. 1., and we're looking into [adding it to] more stores."
Casey's Q3 was a banner quarter for foodservice. Same-store foodservice sales jumped 12.6 percent vs. the same period last year. One percent of that increase was attributed to the pizza delivery service.
As for same-store sales across all segments, Casey's said that figure rose 6.3 percent compared to Q3 2011, and the chain achieved an average margin of 31.8 percent.
The one fly in the ointment was gasoline sales. For its third quarter, Casey's same-store gallons sold were down 2.4 percent vs. Q3 2011.
"Same-store gallons continue to be impacted by higher prices at the pump," said Casey's CEO Robert Myers. "However, we are encouraged by the 3.4-percent increase in our same-store customer count."