Casey’s Shares Strategic Growth Plans

C-store operator to expand private label and prepared food offerings as it broadens its store footprint
Lynn Petrak
Senior Editor
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Casey's General Market aims to add 350 new stores by 2026 and is building on its grocery and prepared food business.

Casey’s General Stores, Inc. is the third largest convenience chain in the United States, but is not resting on any laurels. The Iowa-based operator unveiled a new three-year strategic plan this week outlining the ways it is differentiating itself from competitors to capture even more growth.

The plans were announced during Casey’s investor day on June 27 in New York City. The updated strategy encompasses five key initiatives: adding stores, accelerating the food business, improving operational efficiencies, creating a community-first culture and bolstering its financial strength.

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The plan for more locations is ambitious, as the retailer reported that it aims to open 350 new stores through organic growth and acquisitions by the end of fiscal year 2026. To be able to invest in such an expansion, Casey’s also shared its goal of growing EBITDA at an 8% to 10% compound annual growth rate.

Another way that the chain plans to fuel its expansion is through its grocery and food offerings that attract and bring back customers. According to the retailer, 75% of its inside transactions do not include fuel.

Following a 9% penetration of private label products in fiscal 2023, the retailer is adding more store brand items and widening the selection of affordable snacks and beverages. Segmented assortment and pricing is also part of the strategy, as Casey’s works to tier, regionalize and rationalize its product assortment.

Known for its pizza and other hot foods, Casey’s will take steps to further enhance that foodservice program. “Prepared food is a core capability for Casey’s, and as the fifth largest pizza chain in the U.S., our fresh, handmade pizza is our crown jewel,” said Tom Brennan, chief merchandising officer. “We’re focused on accelerating our food business through increased whole pie sales, unique, limited-time menu items, exclusive brand partnerships and extensions of our fan favorites, like our new thin crust pizza.”

Technology is a centerpiece of the strategic growth plan as well. The retailer reported that it will invest in digital technologies to create a more personalized loyalty program for shoppers. From an operational standpoint, Casey’s will deploy new digital store tools for team members to help lower operating costs and improve speed.

As it grows its presence in more communities – Casey’s is unique in that half of its stores are located in towns of 5,000 or fewer people – the company gives back to the areas it serves. During the investor day presentation, Casey’s reported that it has enabled nearly $15 million in community donations with the help of its patrons and supplier partners.

President and CEO Darren Rebelez said that these and other efforts have positioned Casey’s to build on its $10 billion total enterprise value. “Casey’s has delivered exceptional performance over the last three years, growing our inside same-store sales by 6.5% this past fiscal year, and expanding our footprint by over 350 stores since 2020,” he said. “Our new strategic plan demonstrates that Casey’s is truly a category of one. From our strong balance sheet and insight-driven decision-making to our delicious, handmade pizza and industry-leading loyalty program, Casey’s is undeniably unique in what we offer our guests and communities.”  Earlier in June, Rebelez was named board chair at the company, succeeding retiring chair H. Lynn Horak.

Founded more than 50 years ago and based in Ankeny, Iowa, Casey's operates more than 2,500 convenience stores around the United States. The retailer is No. 33 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2023 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.

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