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Casey’s sees a drop in earnings

The Ankeny-based convenience store chain Casey’s General Stores reports earnings for the fiscal year ending April 30th at $111-million, down 5.3% from 2012. The company’s chief financial officer, Bill Walljasper, says an adjustment in cigarette prices and a turnaround in the weather is part of the reason for the performance.

“Favorable weather a year ago in the fourth quarter allowed the company to achieve the highest quarterly same-store sales in the past five years, unfortunately this year during the same period we experienced unfavorable weather resulting in a slight decrease in same-store sales within the grocery and general merchandise category,” Walljasper told shareholders in a conference call today.

The company also had $3.5-million worth of unrecoverable accounts. For the fourth quarter, Casey’s posted net income of $23.3-million, or 60-cents a share. Walljasper has high hopes for the coming year, in part because of more stores staying open around-the-clock.

“Currently, about 550 of our stores are now open 24 hours. In fiscal 2014 we plan to convert another 100 stores to a 24-hour format,” Walljasper says. “We typically experience same store customer count double that of our store base resulting in a 20-to-30 percent lift in inside sales from a store converted to this format.”

Casey’s reports total gallon sales of gas were up four-percent for the fiscal year with an average margin of 15-point-two cents a gallon. The company operates more than 1,700 stores in 14 states and has set a goal of building or acquiring 70 to 105 stores over the next fiscal year.