Canada's Couche-Tard results beat on higher fuel sales, new merchandise

FILE PHOTO: Pedestrians walk past a Couche-Tard convenience store in Montreal, April 18, 2012. REUTERS/Christinne Muschi

(Reuters) - Canadian convenience store operator Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc ATDb.TO beat quarterly revenue and profit estimates on Tuesday, helped by higher fuel sales in the United States and improved merchandise at its stores.

To gain market share in a competitive retail environment, the Laval, Quebec-based company has been launching digital initiatives, such as its Easy Pay loyalty program, and adding coffee machines and hot dog offers across stores.

The company, which also owns Circle K convenience stores, has been relying on its upsell platform, in which the customer is prompted with new offers on a screen at the checkout.

Revenue from Couche-Tard’s merchandise and services segment that sells fresh food and offers car wash services rose 2.6% to $4.3 billion.

Chief Executive Officer Brian Hannasch said the company saw positive trends in its U.S. fuel business with steady same-store fuel volumes.

Fuel revenue in the United States, its biggest market, rose 4.7% to $8.10 billion and in Canada increased 3.3% to $1.42 billion. However, in Europe it fell 3% to $2.32 billion.

Net income attributable to the company rose 7.8% to $659.9 million, or 59 cents per share, in the third quarter ended Feb. 2.

Excluding items, the company earned 52 cents per share, beating analysts’ estimate by 8 cents.

Total revenue rose to $16.60 billion from $16.52 billion, beating the average analyst estimate of $16.43 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Reporting by Nivedita Balu in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel