LAVAL, Que. — Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. says it remains on the path to doubling its pre-tax profits by 2023 as the economic reopening is helping business to return to pre-pandemic levels.
The Quebec-based convenience store retailer beat expectations in its fourth quarter as fuel margins surged despite lower volumes as people haven't yet fully resumed they're driving habits.
Couche-Tard expects to double its earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization from 2018 levels to about US$6 billion in its 2023 financial year by growing existing sales through a series of efforts including expanding fresh food sales and acquisitions.
Chief executive Brian Hannasch told analysts that the company has made "notable progress" in accelerating organic growth by expanding fresh food to 2,000 stores, including expanding its Fresh Food, Fast program to Canada in the quarter.
The company beat expectations as its adjusted profit increased 11 per cent to 52 cents US in the quarter, that was 21 per cent above analyst forecasts.
Couche-Tard says the results strengthened where COVID restrictions have eased with traffic returning to rural and suburban locations at a faster rate than in urban stores.
While fuel sales remain impacted by restrictions, Hannasch says there's an improvement, especially in the U.S., where it is seeing a return to more normal driving patterns.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 30, 2021.
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