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Murphy USA Profit Falls 38% on Lower Fuel Revenue, Higher Expenses in Q1

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Murphy USA (NYSE: MUSA), the fuel and convenience store chain based in El Dorado, reported first-quarter income of $66 million, or $3.12 per share, on Wednesday.

The profit was down 37.7% from $106 million, or $4.80 per diluted share, in the same quarter a year ago, but President and CEO Andrew Clyde called the results a sign of resilience in Murphy USA’s core fuel and tobacco categories.

The revenue contribution of fuel sales was 24.8 cents per gallon in the three months that ended March 31, down from 28.9 cents per gallon a year ago.

The results fell short of Wall Street expectations. A consensus of four analysts’ predictions for Zacks Investment Research had forecast earnings per share above $4.

Share of the company fell nearly 9% in after-hours trading Wednesday to $411.80. Year to date, shares were up about 15%.

Same-store sales declined 0.9% compared to the first quarter last year, but merchandise contribution dollars rose 2.4% to $191 million on average unit margins of 9.2%. The company repurchased 216,000 common shares of stock for $86.9 million, an average price of $402.14 per share. Murphy USA also paid out a quarterly cash dividend to stockholders of 42 cents per share, a 2.4% increase from the last quarter of 2023.

Clyde, in a statement, said fuel and tobacco sales fared well as “these remain non-discretionary purchases to a growing base of customers who continued to trade down for value and stocked up around severe-weather events throughout the quarter.”

The CEO cited  “strong year-over-year and two-year fuel volume performance at comparable Q1 retail margins” that he said “further demonstrate structural industry dynamics remain intact and favor Murphy USA in the most recent rising price and lower volatility environment.”

Major innovation, growth and productivity initiatives remain on track, Clyde said, with results largely weighted to the second half of this year. “As such, we continue to be well positioned to execute against our long-term value creation strategy.”

The company said total store operating expenses were $13.8 million higher in the first quarter than they were a year ago, “mainly due to employee related expenses and store maintenance costs combined with new store growth.”

At the end of the quarter, Murphy USA had 1,579 stores.



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