couchetard reports a profitable quarter

Announced plans to acquire 250 additional units.

Alimentation Couche-Tard, Convenience Store Decisions’ 2007 Chain of the Year winner, has reported an increase of its first-quarter profit by 55% to $69.1 million as revenues climbed 25%. The chain had sales of $3.6 billion in the three months ended July 22, compared with $2.9 billion in the same period last year.

“We were pleased to see our momentum of 2007 carry through into the new fiscal year,” CEO Alain Bouchard said in a statement.

Much of the momentum the company has enjoyed comes from the strong organic growth resulting from the renovation to its store network. The chain upgraded a total of 67 stores in the quarter. So far, more than 52% of its company-operated stores have been renovated. Another 400 of its 4,102 corporate stores are set for the same treatment.

Bouchard said he’s pleased with the speed in which newly acquired stores have been integrated in the company. Two-thirds of the acquired stores joined the Couche-Tard family less than a year ago but are contributing to earnings.

Following the current momentum, the company hopes to add 250 stores through acquisition this fiscal year, depending on the value of the Canadian dollar and fuel net margins.

“We are confident we will be able to continue to increase our profitability during this fiscal year,” said Bouchard.

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