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Casey's Makes Progress in Year One of New Three-Year Plan

Prepared food continues to be a star of the convenience retailer's business.
Melissa Kress
Casey's pizza

ANKENY, Iowa — Casey's General Stores Inc. delivered a record year as it made progress on the three-year strategic plan the convenience retail chain laid out one year ago.

Overall, net income was $502 million (up 12%) and EBITDA was $1.06 billion (up 11%) in fiscal year 2024 vs. the prior year, the company reported. It was the first time in Casey's history that EBITDA topped $1 billion. 

"The financial performance is a result of the tireless effort of the team and the dedication to executing our three-year strategic plan," President and CEO Darren Rebelez said during the company's fourth-quarter fiscal year 2024 earnings call on June 12. 

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Casey's presented its current roadmap during the company's Investor Day in late June 2023. The three primary strategies in this leg of the convenience store operator's growth plan center on foodservice, network expansion and increased operational efficiencies, as Convenience Store News previously reported. This new roadmap followed Casey's previous three-year strategic plan that kicked off in January 2020. 

"The plan we laid out in June of 2023 had three pillars: accelerate the food business, grow the number of units and enhance operational efficiency. We were off to an excellent start on each of these objectives," Rebelez said of FY2024. 

Prepared Foods

According to the chief executive, Casey's continued to innovate in its prepared food program and rolled out a thin crust pizza and a revamped lunch sandwich offering during its latest fiscal year. 

"Our prepared food business, which is Casey's most significant differentiator in the convenience store industry, proved in fiscal 2024 that we have innovated the right products at the right value for our guests," Rebelez noted. "In June of 2023, we rolled out a thin crust pizza offering that has allowed us to meet the needs of the entire family for their pizza occasion and in calendar 2024, we launched a refreshed sandwich platform that has become a staple of the lunch daypart menu."

This innovation coupled with strategic retail pricing has shown up in Casey's financial results, Rebelez said, pointing to consistent inside sales growth. "Despite lapping a strong fiscal 2023, we were up 6.8% in same-store sales during the fiscal year," he added. 

Unit Growth

Casey's is also making progress on its commitment to grow its network. During fiscal year 2024, the convenience retailer built 42 new c-stores and acquired 112 stores for a total of 154 new and acquired stores. 

These moves included the acquisition of 22 Lone Star Food Store locations from W. Douglass Distributing Ltd. in November 2023. The deal marked Casey's entry into Texas — expanding its footprint to 17 states. 

"We are ahead of our pace for adding at least 350 stores by the end of fiscal 2026. Our two-pronged approach allows us the flexibility to build or buy, and our strong balance sheet gives us the freedom to be opportunistic with acquisitions," Rebelez said. "That was the case in fiscal 2024 where we had our second most acquisitive year in the company's history."

Operating Efficiencies

Casey's continued to make improvements in operating more efficiently in FY2024 as well and, according to Rebelez, its "operational excellence team has done a tremendous job identifying areas to improve store efficiency while simultaneously improving guest satisfaction in team member engagement." 

He provided two highlights centered on prepared foods:

  1. A digital production planner now provides the stores with clear data on what quantities of prepared foods need to be made at certain times throughout the day. 
  2. An automated voice assistant answers the phone and takes the order, so the team members in the kitchen can work on what they do best, which is making food. 

"The team's work is not done and we're excited to continue to enhance operational efficiency in fiscal 2025 and beyond," the CEO said.

Turning to the guest, Casey's Rewards program now counts more than 8 million members — customers who visit its stores more frequently and spend more per trip. 

"I think our digital team has done a great job in building up the rewards program," Rebelez said. "We continue to activate that group. 

"[Casey's Rewards members], for sure the most profitable consumers that we have, they visit the store more frequently; they spend more when they come," he added. "Where our real opportunity lies is in being able to get more sophisticated in one-to-one marketing. We do some of that today in different cohorts, but we really still have a bit of room to go in terms of being able to actually reach out to an individual through their specific buying patterns and start to influence that purchasing behavior."

Ankeny-based Casey's General Stores operates more than 2,600 stores across 17 states.

About the Author

Melissa Kress

Melissa Kress

Melissa Kress is Executive Editor of Convenience Store News. She joined the brand in 2010. Melissa handles much of CSNews' hard news coverage, such as mergers and acquisitions and company financial reports, and the technology beat. She is also one of the industry's leading media experts on the tobacco category.

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