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    Casey's Second-Quarter Profit Falls

    Rising gasoline costs cut into higher revenue.

    ANKENY, Iowa -- Casey's General Stores Inc., which operates more than 1,300 stores in nine midwestern states, said that profit dropped 30 percent in the fiscal second quarter as rising gasoline costs continued to cut into higher revenue, according to Forbes.com.

    The company's profit fell to $11 million, or 22 cents per share, in the three months ended Oct. 31, from $15.8 million, or 32 cents per share, a year ago.

    "Despite the challenging gasoline environment, we are pleased with our achievements in the second quarter, especially with the gains made inside our stores," said chairman and CEO Ronald M. Lamb. Casey's gasoline goal is to increase same-store gallons sold at least 2 percent with an average margin of at least 10.5 cents.

    "We gained ground on same-store gallons sold in the quarter. Rising wholesale prices, however, lowered our average margin to 9.7 cents from 11.9 cents for the same period a year ago," Lamb explained. "The lower margin held our gasoline gross profit to $25.2 million, down from $30 million."

    Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call expected earnings of 31 cents per share for the latest quarter.

    Revenue rose 17 percent to $717.3 million from $611.6 million, helped by higher sales of prepared food and fountain drinks. The company's same-store gasoline sales also rose, but higher wholesale costs cut into revenue.

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