Laval-based Couche-Tard annual meeting today

By Tracey Arial

Laval-based convenience powerhouse Alimentation Couche-Tard is holding their annual shareholder’s meeting in Toronto today. This is the first time ever that the meeting takes place in a location outside of Laval.

Today also marks the day longtime CEO Alain Bouchard steps down to be replaced by American citizen Brian Hannasch. Hannasch moved to Quebec earlier this year. Today’s meeting also serves as an opportunity for shareholders to celebrate the retailer celebrating achieving status among the top 100 retailers in the United States in 2014.

The main point of the meeting will be to celebrate earnings 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 is being replaced by. “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. 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. For now, Couche-Tard’s head office remains within Laval.

The retailer is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

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