Casey’s General Stores Shares Jump

Shares of Casey’s General Stores (CASY) surged in late trade Monday after the firm reported sales and earnings in the fiscal fourth quarter that beat the market’s forecasts.

Group revenue rose to $2.18 billion during the three months that ended April 30, from $2.09 billion a year earlier, the company said in an earnings statement. That result was also ahead of the $2.12 billion average analyst estimate compiled by Capital IQ.

Same-store sales were also up by 5.7% in the fourth quarter, bringing comparable revenue for the full fiscal year to 3.6%.

Diluted earnings per share rose to $0.68, from $0.51 a year earlier, surpassing the Street’s view of $0.49, even as operating expenses were up 9.6% in the quarter. The number of stores jumped to 2,146, an increase of 73 from a year earlier.

The “combination of gross profit dollar margin expansion and opening more stores were the primary drivers of that growth,” Chief Executive Officer Terry Handley said in a statement. The “increase in operating expenses was primarily due to operating more stores than the same time a year ago offset by a reduction in employee costs at same-stores,” he added.

Looking ahead, the company is piloting a new in-store order management system with an expected launch in the first half of fiscal 2020. For the full year, the retailer, which is also expecting to launch an “enhanced” mobile app in the first quarter, expects to have 60 new store construction while aiming to acquire 25 stores.

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