The Ankeny-based convenience store chain Casey’s General Stores reported a 73% increase in profits in its second quarter that ended in October pushed by gasoline and in-store food sales. Casey’s chief financial officer, Bill Walljasper, told shareholders that gas sales were up just over 6%.

“The favorable gas margin environment that we have been experiencing over the past several years continued in the second quarter, resulting in an average margin of 16.7 cents-per-gallon, compared to 14.9-cents-per gallon in the same period a year ago. Year-to-date the margin is 16-point-nine-cents per gallon, well ahead of our annual goal,” Walljasper said.

The company sold nearly 756-million gallons of gas in the quarter. Walljasper says the sale of prepared foods also increased.

He says total sales were up 20.2% to $128.8-million for the quarter, with same store sales up 14.2% with an average margin of 59.5%, which was down due to the cost of cheese and other products.

The cost of cheese used on pizza and other items was up about 23-cents a pound compared last year, and coffee was up about 50% compared to the same quarter last year. Walljasper says they’ve been able to sell their in-store foods at a good price, and are not yet ready to increase prices, despite the increased cost of the ingredients.

“Right now we don’t have any immediate plans for additional price increases, we do competitive pricing surveys on periodic basis to see if there’s an opportunity from that side of the fence to take price increases,” Walljasper explained, “I’m not saying that’s out of the realm of possibility, but right now we don’t have those plans to do that.”

Walljasper says their growing network of stores is also a reason they’ve increased sales. The company has experimented with keeping 70 stores open 24-hours and he says they plan to convert another 150 to the round-the-clock operation. He also said the company is looking at adding pizza delivery at some locations.

The company reported Tuesday that it earned almost $38-million in the quarter — up from about $22-million in the same quarter last year.