ANKENY — The Ankeny-based Casey’s General Stores convenience store chain report an increase in earnings for the second quarter.

CEO Darren Rebelez talked about the results in a conference call with investors. “Diluted earnings per share for the second quarter were up 23 percent to $2.21, compared to a $1.80 a year ago. The results were driven primarily by a stronger fuel margin versus the second quarter last year. Continued operating expense control, and sales gains inside the store,” Rebelez says.

He says the results continue the strong gains the company has made. “Year-to-date, diluted earnings per share are $4.52. Up over 52 percent from a year ago,” Rebelez says. “Excluding the one-time impact from tax reform, this represents the sixth consecutive quarter of double-digit earnings growth per share, compared to prior year quarters.”

He says they made more money on gas, despite a drop in the number of gallons sold.”Same store gallons sold year-to-date were down two percent with an average margin of 23.7 per gallon. Through the first six months — gross profit dollars in the fuel category are up 20.5 percent compared to the same period a year ago,” Rebelez says.He says the favorable fuel prices and their centralized retail pricing strategy helped them maintain a profit.

The company reports prepared food same-store sales for the quarter were up 1.9% with average margin of nearly 61 percent. He says that is below what they projected, and one of the issues is the cost of cheese.

“The average cost of cheese for the second quarter was $2.18 a pound — compared to a $1.86 in the same quarter last year. Cheese costs are currently trending up,” Rebelenz says. He says they are monitoring market closely for buying opportunities.

The company has 2,146 stores in 16 states with 12 stores under agreement to purchase and a pipeline of 97 new store sites, including 31 under construction as of October 31st.

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