The issue of beer sales came up during the Casey’s shareholder conference call Wednesday. Casey’s CEO, Terry Handley, says they have reevaluated their strategy in some beer sales.
“Beer is an area I think we talked about in the past in terms of the market being very aggressive, especially in response to the big box stores doing a ‘buy two get one free’ on these premium case products. We have been following that and trying to compete,” Handley says.
He says trying to match those type of beer bargains has not led to big dividends for the Ankeny-based convenience store chain. “And while we have great unit growth — it doesn’t a make up the difference in terms of impact on sales. So we are going to walk away from that strategy and let them be aggressive on those 24 packs, those cases,” according to Handley.
Handley says they won’t give up selling beer. “We are going to concentrate more in wheelhouse — the six packs, the 12 packs — and even singles,” Handley says. Handley says they’ve found more consumer interest in liquor.
“Millennial are moving more toward liquor and wine and away from beer, although they are still very strong in the craft sales. We have over 800 stores now where we sell liquor. It’s our fastest growing category,” Handley says. He says they will stay focused on providing a good variety of liquors to keep up with customer demand instead of trying to match price cuts on cases of beer.
“I don’t think that you’re going to see us keep up with the Walmarts of the world in these deep discounts. It’s just not our program, it’s not our strategy. Let’s just do what we do best,” Handley says.
Casey’s corporate information says the company operates 1,950 stores in 15 midwestern states.