Forecourt operator Alimentation Couche-Tard has reported a 14% increase in net earnings in the first quarter of its financial year, to $872.4 million (€871.8 million), up from $764.4 million for the same period last year.
The Canadian group, which operates the Circle K brand across many European markets, reported total revenue of $18.7 billion (€18.67 billion) for the quarter, which was 37.4% higher than the corresponding period last year.
It attributed this increase to higher average fuel prices, organic growth in its merchandise and service business, and the contribution from acquisitions.
However, this was offset slightly by lower fuel demand, as well as the 'work from home trend'.
Its merchandise and service arm, which includes the Circle K forecourt banner, along with Couche-Tard, reported revenues of $4.1 billion (€4.09 billion) for the quarter, an increase of $4.5 million on the corresponding period last year.
Same-store merchandise revenues were up by 3.5% in the United States, by 2.8% in Europe and other regions, and decreased by 1.3% in Canada, due to what it described as increased competition with the illicit tobacco market.
'Healthy Same Store Sales'
"In the face of continued and historic inflationary conditions and high fuel prices, we are pleased to report strong results this quarter, especially in convenience where we had healthy same stores sales in our U.S. market," commented Brian Hannasch, president and chief executive officer of Alimentation Couche-Tard.
"We also continued to generate robust fuel margins across all of our platforms. In this period of high inflation and high prices, we remain focused on delivering a strong and consistent value to our customers and on maintaining cost discipline in our operations."
Road transportation fuel revenues for the first quarter were $14.3 billion (€14.28 billion), an increase of $4.9 billion compared with the corresponding quarter of fiscal 2022.
The group's chief financial officer, Claude Tessier, added that the group's cost discipline has enabled it to reduce expenses, adding that its financial position "remains strong".
As of the end of the first quarter (17 July 2022), Alimentation Couche-Tard operated 9,796 company-owned sites across its network, along with 1,294 franchised outlets.