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Why Shares of Casey's General Stores Are Climbing on Tuesday

Lou Whiteman, The Motley Fool

What happened

Shares of Casey's General Stores (NASDAQ: CASY) traded up 10% on Tuesday after the convenience and gasoline store operator reported quarterly results that beat expectations and expressed confidence heading into its new fiscal year.

So what

After markets closed Monday, Casey's announced fiscal fourth-quarter earnings of $0.68 per share on revenue of $2.18 billion, beating the consensus estimate for $0.52 per share in earnings on sales of $2.1 billion. Same-store sales were up 5.7% in the quarter, with an average margin of 31.5%.

Gas pumps.

Image source: Getty Images.

Income before taxes grew by 58% year over year in the quarter, and by 23% for the full fiscal year. Company CEO Terry Handley in a statement said the company's previously announced value creation plan is paying dividends.

"The combination of gross profit dollar margin expansion, a focus on controlling operating expense growth, and opening more stores were the primary drivers of that growth," Handley said. "The entire team demonstrated a focused effort to drive the business forward while working diligently to build out new capabilities that will support future earnings growth, including completing several value creation plan milestones in the fourth quarter."

Casey's highlighted its progress in rolling out its e-commerce site and said its new fleet card program has more than 2,000 active cards and 500 new accounts. The company's new in-store order management system is slated to roll out in the months to come, as will its inside price optimization plan.

Now what

Casey's said it expects fiscal 2020 same-store sales in a range of down 0.5% to up 1%. The company expects about 25 store acquisitions in the new fiscal year, and about 60 new store constructions.

The results impressed Jefferies analyst Christopher Mandeville, who wrote in a post-earnings note that he expects the rally to hold because the quarter shows Casey's strategic initiatives are on track.

Casey's was an outperformer coming out of the Great Recession, returning 550% for investors between March 2009 and May 2016. There have been stumbles since, but the quarter offers reason to hope Casey's is returning to form.

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Lou Whiteman has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Casey's General Stores. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.