EL DORADO, Ark. — Murphy USA is joining the growing list of convenience store operators putting new stores and rebuilds on their 2022 agenda.
The El Dorado-based company is accelerating new store growth this year despite the challenges facing the industry, according to President and CEO Andrew Clyde.
"The team is working hard to push through the pipeline, through permitting and supply chain challenges, and deliver up to 45 new stores — including seven QuickChek locations — and 35 raze-and-rebuilds in 2022," he reported during Murphy USA's fourth-quarter 2021 earnings call, held Feb. 3.
Murphy USA closed its acquisition of Whitehouse Station, N.J.-based QuickChek Corp. on Jan. 29, 2021. Through this deal, it added 157 convenience stores in the Northeast to its portfolio, and brought its total station count to more than 1,650 locations.
The 2022 strategy builds on the addition of 23 new stores in 2021, including five QuickChek locations, and 27 raze-and-rebuilds. Both numbers came in below the retailer's targeted ranges of between 34 and 38 new stores and 31 raze-and-rebuilds.
"The shortfall was largely attributable to delays in permitting and construction, but that has resulted in a higher-than-normal level of new store activity in January ," Clyde explained. "Since the beginning of the year, two stores have already been placed in service and 13 new Murphy Express and one new QuickChek store are underway, along with three raze-and-rebuild projects."
He noted that the company has the capacity to support and build between 50 and 60 new stores, along with up to 25 raze-and-rebuild projects, annually. Murphy USA expects to return to that level of activity over the next few years.
Q4 & FY2021 Financial Results
The retailer's capital expenditures for the fourth quarter of 2021 totaled approximately $59 million and were $278 million for the full year, with QuickChek absorbing roughly $50 million of that annual spend, according to Mindy West, Murphy USA's executive vice president and chief financial officer.
Of the $278 million total spend, approximately $225 million was growth capital, including 18 new Murphy Express stores, five new QuickChek stores, and 27 raze-and-rebuild projects. Of the remaining $53 million, $20 million was spent on maintenance across both networks, and $33 million was spent on corporate projects, including critical IT infrastructure investments and other revenue-driving capabilities.
Company revenue for the fourth quarter was $4.8 billion, while revenue for the full year totaled $17.4 billion. That compared to $2.9 billion and $11.2 billion, respectively, for the year-ago period.
Adjusted EBITDA in the quarter was $216.2 million vs. $136.3 million in the fourth quarter of 2020. Full-year adjusted EBITDA was $828 million vs. $723 million in the prior year.
Average retail gasoline prices per gallon during the fourth quarter were $3.05, compared to $1.87 in the prior-year period. Retail gasoline prices averaged $2.77 per gallon for the full year vs. $1.91 in 2020.
Murphy USA has stores in 27 states, primarily in the Southwest, Southeast, Midwest and Northeast United States. The majority of its stores are located in close proximity to Walmart Supercenters.