Despite the national and statewide economic downturn, an Iowa-based convenience store chain reports an upturn in sales. Jim Schaeffer is chief financial officer for Ankeny-based Casey’s General Stores. The chain has 13-hundred stores in the U-S, including 350 in Iowa. Schaeffer led this morning’s quarterly earnings report in a conference call.Gasoline gallons were up 18-percent while inside sales rose 15-point-five percent. Schaeffer says the chain sold an all-time quarterly record of 240-million gallons of gasoline. He says one of the biggest boosts for the Casey’s chain in recent months has been the -drop- in gas prices, as lower prices bring more customers. He says that should continue for the next quarter. He says the switch over to allowing customers to pay at the pump is helping, he says they’ll speed up the switch over to take advantage.Casey’s settled a lawsuit filed by Illinois’ attorney general a few months ago — because of gas prices. Some Casey’s General Stores in Illinois charged up to five-dollars a gallon for gas on September 11th in the hours after the terrorist attacks on the East Coast. The chain offered customers refunds and 25-thousand dollars to the Red Cross. Casey’s founder and chairman Don Lamberti said -no- Casey’s stores in Iowa raised prices any higher than 25-cents a gallon that day.
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