ANKENY, IOWA — The Casey’s private brand continues to grow, so much so that there are probably no categories that are totally off limits, said Darren M. Rebelez, president and chief executive officer of Casey’s General Stores, Inc.
“We think we can play in the private brand space and virtually any category,” Mr. Rebelez told participants during a Jan. 11 presentation at the virtual ICR Conference.
Casey’s rolled out packaged beverage and packaged bakery items in the fall of 2020. Then, in January 2021, the convenience store chain broadened its assortment of private label products with the launch of more than 100 new snack and beverage items, including chips, jerky and nuts.
A year later Mr. Rebelez said the company is positioned to build out its private brand business even further. He pointed to several of the company’s early “wins.”
“I’ll take ice cream as an example,” he said. “We started off with pints because we thought pints were a great way to go. But it became so popular with our guests, we expanded into half-gallons.
“Within the chip category, we were more single-serve. That’s resonated so well we’ve gone into take-home sizes and broadened the flavor profiles that we’re engaging.
“Packaged bakery is another one very similarly. So we’re seeing that as we go into categories, people like the products. And so we're just expanding that assortment even more.”
Before introducing a private label product into its assortment, Mr. Rebelez said three hurdles must be cleared.
First, the product’s quality must be as good or better than the national brands. Second, Casey’s must be able to deliver a retail price lower than the national brand. And finally, Casey’s must be able to secure a higher penny profit than what would be achieved with a similar national brand.
“We have a fairly high bar to set just to get into the assortment,” Mr. Rebelez said. “Now, that being said … all categories are different. But we’ll see anywhere from a couple hundred basis points improvement on margin all the way to 1,000 basis points improvement on margin. It really just depends on that category.”Casey’s operates more than 2,300 stores in 16 states.