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Murphy USA to Accelerate Store Openings

The retailer anticipates adding 30 to 35 new and remodeled c-stores this year.
Angela Hanson
Logos for Murphy USA and QuickChek

EL DORADO, Ark. — Murphy USA Inc. is focusing on adding new and remodeled convenience stores as a key strategic move, company leadership shared during its recent earnings call for the first quarter of 2024.

The retailer opened three new-to-industry c-stores during the quarter, including one QuickChek store, and has since opened one new store under the Murphy USA banner with two more to come in the next few weeks. These new-to-industry stores are "a significant driver of EBITDA growth over time," said Galagher Jeff, Murphy USA's recently appointed executive vice president and chief financial officer.

[Read more: CSN EXCLUSIVE: Murphy USA Invests in Foodservice Success]

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The company's construction is accelerating, Jeff added. Currently, 22 raze-and-rebuild projects are underway along with nine new-to-industry stores, including new QuickChek-branded stores. Construction slated to begin in May and June puts the company on track to deliver 30 to 35 new stores this year — in line with its guidance, and a projected increase compared to the 28 new stores it opened in 2023.

"The new store pipeline is also in great shape and right now stands at the highest level it has been since COVID, which means we're getting line of sight to a more robust 2025 opening pace," Jeff said.

The company also closed three QuickChek stores that lacked a fuel offer.

Foodservice will remain a key focus, according to President and CEO Andrew Clyde.

"Having seen the recently reported earnings for a number of QSRs [quick-service restaurants] where same-store sales results were mixed, we believe our prior decision to stay focused on value pricing amidst some of the increasing food cost inflation is paying off," Clyde said. "A recent brand survey further updates and reinforces our strong positioning with consumers. And with more innovative offers to come, alongside the enhancements from our digital initiatives, we believe we are very well positioned in the current environment compared to the food brands that are having to make a sharp pivot toward value."

Clyde noted that looking ahead to the rest of 2024, Murphy USA's core innovation, growth and productivity initiatives that largely focus on food, beverage and center-store opportunities remain on track, with their benefits weighted to the second half of the year.

"We remain confident about the trajectory of this part of the business," he said.

Murphy USA reported net income of $66 million during Q1 2024, down from $106.3 million during the same quarter last year. Adjusted EBITDA was $164.3 million, down from $220.2 million in Q1 2023. Company executives cited lower total fuel contribution, higher store operating expenses and higher general and administrative expenses — partially offset by higher overall merchandise contribution — as factors for the decline.

Total retail gallons rose 1% during the quarter, while volumes declined 0.9% on a same-store sales basis compared to the prior year. Total merchandise contribution increased 2.4% year over year.

“First-quarter results showed the resilience of Murphy USA's core fuel and tobacco categories, as these remain nondiscretionary purchases to a growing base of customers who continued to trade down for value and stocked up around severe weather events throughout the quarter," Clyde said. “Strong year-over-year and two-year fuel volume performance at comparable Q1 retail margins further demonstrate structural industry dynamics remain intact and favor Murphy USA in the most recent rising price and lower volatility environment."

El Dorado-based Murphy USA has more than 1,700 stores located primarily in the Southwest, Southeast, Midwest and Northeast United States. The company and its team of nearly 15,000 employees serve an estimated 2 million customers each day through its retail network in 27 states. The majority of Murphy USA's stores are located in close proximity to Walmart Supercenters. The company also markets gasoline and other products at standalone stores under the Murphy Express and QuickChek brands.

About the Author

Angela Hanson

Angela Hanson

Angela Hanson is Senior Editor of Convenience Store News. She joined the brand in 2011. Angela spearheads most of CSNews’ industry awards programs and authors numerous special news reports. In 2016, she took over the foodservice beat, a critical category for the c-store industry. 

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