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Casey's (CASY) to Acquire 49 Stores From Circle K in Oklahoma

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The pandemic has not stopped the leading convenience store chain — Casey's General Stores, Inc. (CASY - Free Report) — to continue with its store expansion spree. Per the latest announcement, the company is acquiring 49 stores throughout Oklahoma from Circle K Stores Inc., in an all cash transaction worth $39 million. Notably, Circle K’s parent company — Alimentation Couche-Tard — is one of the largest convenience store chains globally.

Casey's deal with Circle K, which is expected to close by July 31, 2021, includes 46 leased properties and 3 owned properties. Supplies to these stores will arrive from the company’s new distribution center in Joplin, MO.

Casey's has evolved into the fourth-largest convenience store retailer and the fifth-largest pizza chain in the United States. The company currently has more than 2,200 convenience stores across 16 states. The company offers fresh prepared foods, fuel and other services across its stores. Markedly, the company has more than 40 stores in Oklahoma.

Notably, Casey's has continued to expand its store footprint over the past few years. During first-nine month of fiscal 2021, the company constructed 27 new stores, closed eight and completed the acquisition of three additional stores. In November 2020, the company entered into a deal to acquire Buchanan Energy, known for its Bucky’s Convenience Stores. This $580-million worth deal is likely to boost the company’s market footprint in the Midwest. As part of this deal, the company has been on track to conclude the acquisition of the 94 Bucky’s Convenience Stores. Additionally, the company anticipates completing the construction of about 40 new stores this fiscal year. The company had earlier unveiled plans to add 345 stores over the next three years.

According to industry experts, convenience store chains, which account for a significant portion of fuel sales in the United States, have been going through a rough patch amid the pandemic, thanks to contracted physical retail. In fact, Casey's top line declined 10.7% year over year during the third quarter of fiscal 2021. The company’s fuel sales fell 20%, while Fuel gallons same-store sales fell 12.1%. The downtick was caused by lower guest traffic due to the ongoing pandemic. Also, this Zacks Rank #4 (Sell) company’s revenues were soft in the Prepared Food & Fountain segment due to sluggishness across beverages and bakery categories.

Nevertheless, market pundits believe that digital offerings and omni-channel services have been helping many convenience stores to stay afloat amid the current pandemic-led difficulties. In fact, such strategies have encouraged several retailers to keep expanding their store footprint. We note that Casey’s has been enhancing delivery capabilities via DoorDash. Additionally, Casey's is testing Uber Eats and is most likely to launch the service in the first quarter of fiscal 2022. The company is also increasing online grocery items at all outlets and providing curbside pick option to guests. Its digitization efforts are likely to help create a seamless shopping experience online as well as in-store. Moreover, to support such efforts, it is strengthening operations at distribution centers alongside bolstering transportation fleet.

In addition to boosting store portfolio and digital capabilities, Casey's has also been on track with its price and product optimization strategies, fleet card and other loyalty programs, cost containment efforts as well as capital reallocation plans. We expect such efforts to boost performance in the forthcoming periods. Markedly, shares of the company have gained 16.7% in the past three months compared with the industry’s rise of 14.5%.

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