Ankeny-based Casey's General Stores Inc. reported a drop in earnings for the fiscal year ending April 30 to $2.86 per share from $3.04 in fiscal 2012.

 

Profits suffered because of topsy-turvy weather and poor cigarette sales, according to a news release.

 

Chairman and CEO Robert Myers said in the release that conditions improved in the fourth quarter and would carry into fiscal 2014.

 

Casey's reported earnings of 60 cents per share for the fourth fiscal quarter, the same as the year-earlier period, and $2.86 for its fiscal year, compared with $3.04 per share the previous year.

 

"However, in the fourth quarter we saw strong sales gains with the recent implementation of a fuel saver program in partnership with Hy-Vee grocery stores and competitive cigarette pricing adjustments made earlier in the fiscal year," Myers said. "We expect this momentum will continue into fiscal 2014."

 

Earnings also suffered due to $3.5 million in non-cash charges.

 

Over the year, the company sold 1.5 billion gallons of gasoline, a 4 percent increase over the previous year, at an average margin of 15.2 cents per gallon. Those numbers beat company goals.

 

Same-store sales of groceries and other merchandise increased 0.8 percent over the year at a margin of 32.6 percent. Prepared food and fountain items were up 8.6 percent at a margin of 61.8 percent. Operating expenses increased 10.4 percent to $760.4 million for the year.

 

Casey's opened 26 acquired stores and completed construction on 31 new stores, bringing its store count to 1,749. The company also replaced 26 stores during the year. It has more than 70 locations under contract for both new store and replacement store construction.

 

Casey's board of directors increased the quarterly dividend to 18 cents per share, payable Aug. 15 to shareholders of record on Aug. 1.