ANKENY, Iowa — Casey’s General Stores Inc. has seen 200,000 downloads of its mobile app since its Jan. 4 release date, and the convenience store retailer is optimistic about the benefits the technology can bring, Chief Financial Officer Bill Walljasper said Tuesday during the company’s 2016 fiscal third-quarter earnings call.
“We are getting good traction with the mobile app,” he reported. “The results should be seen late in our fiscal fourth quarter or early in our 2017 fiscal year.”
The Casey’s mobile app, launched in partnership with OpenStore by GasBuddy, gives customers the opportunity to order pizza, made-to-order sub sandwiches and appetizers using their smartphones. The move closely followed the chain's implementation of online ordering across its more than 1,900 convenience stores in 14 states.
The mobile app also offers other features, such as access to special offers and promotions, gas prices, games for prizes, and a feature whereby customers can easily see the locations of all Casey’s stores between destinations along a planned travel route.
Although the app has only been live for two months, Walljasper revealed that the basket ring from mobile orders is higher than for foodservice orders placed by telephone.
Also in the foodservice realm, Casey's executives noted during Tuesday's call that the chain's pizza delivery program continues to do well. The Ankeny-based convenience store retailer added this capability to more than 400 Casey's stores during the nine-month period ended Jan. 31. Its goal is to add the service to an additional 45 stores by April 30, the end of its 2016 fiscal year.
Casey’s is so pleased with the delivery program, in fact, that it may add additional product offerings — most notably, grocery items, the CFO revealed.
“We have had internal discussions about adding complementary items as pizza delivery becomes more well known,” said Walljasper.
SLOW ACQUISITION ENVIRONMENT
Speaking briefly about Casey’s second distribution center, which opened in Terre Haute, Ind., on Feb. 6, Walljasper detailed that within a year, one-third of the company’s stores will be served by this second distribution center.
“The new distribution center is operational,” he said. “It’s running very smoothly."
The facility is expected to open up lots of new growth opportunity for the chain, including entry into more markets and even more states.
Although Casey’s has focused on organic growth recently, acquisitions are still very much part of the company’s business model, according to Walljasper. However, the price to acquire c-store assets is high at the current time, despite stock-market weakness in master limited partnerships.
“We will remain patient and not overpay,” he said. “We intend to make acquisitions, but [sales] multiples have gone up.”
Casey’s operated 1,911 convenience stores as of Jan. 31.
For a full breakdown of Casey’s 2016 fiscal third-quarter earnings, click here.