Casey’s General Stores Inc. has reported $0.43 in basic earnings per share for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2010 ended April 30, 2010, compared to $0.31 from the same quarter a year ago.
The results include approximately $6.9 million in legal and advisory fees pertaining to the evaluation of the unsolicited offer and related actions by Alimentation Couche-Tard. Without the effect of those fees, basic earnings per share would have been approximately $0.51 for the quarter compared to the Reuters consensus estimate of $0.40. For the year, basic earnings per share finished at $2.30, an increase of over 36% compared to the prior year’s $1.69.
“Fiscal 2010 was a monumental year for Casey’s General Stores,” said Robert Myers, president and CEO of Casey’s. “Not only did we surpass 1,500 stores, but we also beat our previous best year by $0.61 per share. We are very pleased with our overall performance, as we turned in record results in the midst of the challenging economic environment during the 12-month period. Furthermore, we expect our strong performance to continue in fiscal 2011.”
For the fiscal year, same-store gallons sold were unchanged from the prior year with an average margin of 13.9 cents per gallon.
“Gasoline margins were strong throughout the year,” Myers said. “In fact, we have been significantly above our gasoline margin goals for the past three fiscal years. We believe there has been a shift in the competitive landscape throughout our marketing territory and expect this positive environment to continue.”
Casey’s annual goal was to increase same-store gasoline gallons sold 2% with an average margin of 11 cents per gallon. For the quarter, same-store gallons sold were up 0.2% with an average margin of 13.1 cents per gallon. For the year, total gallons sold rose 3.3% to nearly 1.3 billion.
Grocery and Other Merchandise
For the fiscal year, same-store sales rose 3.3% with an average margin of 33.6%.
“Throughout the fiscal year, our sales were impacted by the broader macroeconomic conditions, with customers trading down to less expensive products, as well as adverse weather,” Myers noted. “Despite these challenges, we were still able to grow gross profit by almost 6%.” The goal for fiscal 2010 was to increase same-store sales 8.9% with an average margin of 33.9%. Total sales for the year increased 6.2% to $1.1 billion. For the fourth quarter, same-store sales were up 3.1% with an average margin of 33.1%.
Prepared Food and Fountain
Same-store sales increased 4.2% during fiscal 2010, with an average margin of 63.8%.
“The retail price increases made on select items in March are having the positive impact we expected, and the company continues to enjoy a favorable cheese cost environment,” stated Myers. The company’s annual goal was to increase same-store sales 7.5% with an average margin of 62%. Same-store sales in the fourth quarter increased 5.3% with an average margin of 64.1%. Total sales for the category increased 9% to $365.8 million.
For the fiscal year, operating expenses rose 4.3% to $526.3 million. For the fourth quarter, operating expenses were up 7.7% to $135 million.
“When you eliminate the impact of the expenses related to the unsolicited offer and other actions by Couche-Tard, as well as the impact from the $9.1 million legal settlement a year ago, operating expenses were up 4.9% for the year,” said Myers. “We are pleased with our expense control given our increase in the number of stores from the previous year.”
By the end of the fiscal year, the Casey’s had acquired 37 stores and completed 18 new-store constructions.
“The stores we added this year are performing above our chain-wide average, therefore the economic impact of these stores will exceed 4%,” Myers said.
The goal for fiscal 2010 was to increase the total number of stores 4%. In addition to the stores opened during the fiscal year, Casey’s also replaced 20 stores incorporating the new store design that includes a larger coffee and fountain offering, made-to-order sub sandwich program and expanded cooler capacity.
“Our pipeline of acquisitions and new store construction sites under review is almost double of what it was at this time last year, and we recently signed purchase agreements for real estate in Arkansas. We could not be more optimistic about the growth potential of Casey’s right now,” said Myers.
Fiscal 2011 Goals
The corporate performance goals for next fiscal year are:
-Increase same-store gasoline gallons sold 1% with an average margin of 13.5 cents per gallon.
-Increase same-store grocery and other merchandise sales 6% with an average margin of 33.9%.
-Increase same-store prepared food and fountain sales 8% with an average margin of 63.1%.
-Increase the total number of stores by approximately 4 to 6%. In addition, replace 20 stores and perform 20 major remodels, all incorporating the features of our new store design mentioned above. The company remains well-positioned to increase its store capacity, and may revisit its expansion goals during the year as opportunities arise.
The Board of Directors believes it is important to prudently grow the business while at the same time increase the dividend paid to shareholders. At its June meeting, the Board of Directors increased the quarterly dividend to $0.10 per share. The dividend is payable