Casey’s Not Concerned About Grocers’ Gas
By George Anderson
The box its stores operate in is substantially smaller but Casey’s General Stores has taken a path similar to Wal-Mart in its rise in the convenience store ranks.
The chain of convenience stores has succeeded largely by opening stores in underserved rural markets and by offering products that locals within those markets need even if the items are different from those found in most other convenience stores.
For many in the convenience store space, the move by big box competitors from Costco (clubs) to Hy-Vee (supermarkets) to Wal-Mart (supercenters/discount stores) into gasoline sales have begun to erode one of the primary means small boxes have depended on to drive store traffic.
Casey’s, at least publicly, is not sweating the situation.
Bill Walljasper, chief financial officer for Casey’s, told the Des Moines Register, “We have no real concerns about the new competition.”
According to research from the Food Marketing Institute (FMI), more than 25 percent of grocery stores now offer gasoline at their locations.
There are numerous reasons behind this trend, according to Michael Sansolo, senior vice president of FMI. “Shifting consumer behaviors and attitudes, shorter product life cycles, new store concepts and competitive pressures from a broad range of retail formats are driving a fundamental change in the way food retail companies do business,” he said in a released statement.
Among those operating in markets with a fairly close proximity to Casey’s stores is the Iowa headquartered employee owned chain, Hy-Vee. The chain currently has 67 of its 198
stores in the Midwest pumping gas.
Moderator’s Comment: Does Casey’s General Markets have less to be concerned about in respect to big box gasoline competition than others in the convenience
store business? Will there come a point where so many stores pump gas that it becomes less of a point of differentiation than it is now? What is the primary reason besides price
that consumers buy gas from a retailer? – George Anderson – Moderator