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Casey's 4th-qtr results fall short of expectations

ANKENY, Iowa (AP) -- Casey's General Stores Inc. reported a slight uptick in its fiscal fourth-quarter profit despite softer sales and heavy charges during the quarter.

The Iowa-based convenience store operator earned $23.7 million, or 60 cents per share, for the quarter that ended April 30. That compared with $23.1 million, or 60 cents per share, last year. It had $3.5 million in charges during the quarter, which included write-downs for unrecoverable accounts and impairment charges for closed and under-performing stores.

Revenue increased 3 percent to $1.81 billion from $1.75 billion.

Analysts polled by FactSet, on average, were anticipating earnings of 62 cents per share on revenue of $1.83 billion.

Casey's Chairman and CEO Robert Myers said that a difficult cigarette environment and unfavorable weather hurt sales. But he noted that a new "fuel saver" program created in partnership with Hy-Vee grocery stores, as well as lower cigarette prices put in place at the beginning of the year, have helped build some sales momentum that will continue into fiscal 2014.

The company earned $110.6 million, or $2.86 per share, for the full fiscal year, versus $116.8 million, or $3.04 per share, last year. Revenue increased to $7.25 billion from $6.99 billion.

Casey's had 1,749 stores at the end of the fiscal year. It said it plans to build or acquire 70 to 105 stores in the coming year and replace 20 existing locations.

Shares were volatile in aftermarket trading. The stock fell by more than 3 percent after the results were released, then regained that loss to add a penny to its regular trading close of $63.29.