Laval-based Couche-Tard top U.S. retailer

By Tracey Arial

Last year’s increased net earnings should help keep Alimentation Couche-Tard among the top 100 retailers in the United States even after longtime CEO Alain Bouchard steps down on September 24.

The Laval-based powerhouse earned a net of $812.2 million during their 2014 fiscal year, which ended on April 27. The figure was 41.8% higher than it had been for fiscal year 2013.“We are pleased to close fiscal 2014 with net earnings showing a significant growth for a sixth consecutive year,” said Bouchard, who will be replaced by Brian Hannasch next month. “In July 2013, I said that fiscal 2014 would be a year of execution and achievement in Europe. Today, I am proud to say that we delivered.”

Merchandise and service revenue for Couche-Tard’s American operations were also up during the fiscal year to reach $4,818,900, an increase of $270,300.

The fourth quarter wasn’t quite so rosy. Couche-Tard announced net earnings of $145.1 million, which was $1.3 million less than the previous quarter. The company paid higher dividends of four cents per share last week to appease stockholders.

Even before these results were announced, Couche Tard celebrated position number 82 on the 2014 list of top retailers last month. The annual ranking, which appeared on July 1 in Stores, includes Walmart, Target, Lowes, Safeway and McDonalds. It was compiled by Kantar Retail for the National Retail Federation magazine.

7 Eleven, Couche-Tard’s main competitor in the United States, appeared at number 35, a frustration for the Laval company. Couche-Tard sat at number 25 in 2009, but has appeared in the bottom quarter of the list ever since.

Couche-Tard’s status as the only Canadian company on the list wasn’t evident because it opened an American head office in Tempe, Arizona in 2010. Still, Couche-Tard remains within Laval, something that forced American Hannasch to move to Quebec earlier this year.

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