Casey's third distribution center in Joplin, Mo., opened up expansion opportunities.
ANKENY, Iowa — Casey's General Stores Inc. grew its convenience store network by more than 200 locations during its 2022 fiscal year.
In all, the convenience retailer reported total store growth of 228 stores for the fiscal year, which ended April 30. This included 207 acquired locations, marking the largest unit-growth year in the company's history.
"We closed three large strategic acquisitions that were a significant part of the 228 new units opened this year. Through these acquisitions, we have strengthened our presence in the Nebraska and Illinois markets through the Bucky's acquisition, and acquired immediate scale in the Oklahoma City and Knoxville, Tenn., markets with the Circle K and Pilot acquisitions, respectively," President and CEO Darren Rebelez explained during the company's recent fourth-quarter and fiscal year 2022 earnings call.
Aside from expanding Casey's footprint, the acquisitions also "fit seamlessly" into its existing distribution network with the addition of Casey's third distribution center in Joplin, Mo., Rebelez added.
The Joplin facility opened in spring 2021 and has allowed the retailer to expand into the southwest portion of its growing footprint. Casey's opened its second distribution center in Terre Haute, Ind., in spring 2016. Its first distribution center is in its hometown of Ankeny.
"We are excited about the strong progress we've made integrating all three strategic acquisitions, and realized approximately $15 million in run-rate synergies on the Bucky's acquisition this year," Rebelez noted.
Casey's closed on its acquisition of Omaha, Neb.-based Buchanan Energy, owner of Bucky's Convenience Stores, in May 2021 — the beginning of its 2022 fiscal year. The deal included more than 90 retail stores and nearly 80 dealer locations, as well as multiple parcels of real estate for future new store construction. At the time, it was the most significant transaction in Casey's history and moved the needle on its three-year goal to add 345 c-stores to its network, which it announced in January 2020.
The chain also grew in Oklahoma City through a $39-million agreement with Laval, Quebec-based Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. that included nearly 50 locations. In addition, Casey's closed out December 2021 by finalizing a $220-million pact with Pilot Corp. for 40 locations that strengthened its position in Tennessee and Kentucky.
Approach to Growth
For Casey's, network expansion is one of the three pillars of the company's strategic plan. The other two pillars are reinventing the guest experience and creating capacity through efficiencies.
"Our store growth pillar — be where the guest is via disciplined store growth — was on full display in fiscal '22. We more than doubled our previous record-high unit growth with 228 newly constructed and acquired stores," Rebelez boasted during the earnings call. "Our two-pronged approach to growing the business by taking advantage of strategic acquisitions when they are available alongside organic growth should give our shareholders peace of mind that we can ratably grow the business year after year."
Casey's is continuing to explore all opportunities for expansion.
"Our dedicated M&A team is still sourcing more stores, whether it be a single-store owner or a 100-store regional chain," the chief executive said. "In the meantime, our real estate team is actively pursuing sites for new store construction. This strategy enables Casey's to remain disciplined. We do not need to overpay or chase non-strategic acquisitions to hit our growth targets."
Casey's currently operates more than 2,400 convenience stores in 16 states.