President and Chief Executive Officer
I am truly happy to report that fiscal year 2019 was another successful one for Couche-Tard! Thanks to the work of our 133,000 people, we achieved record-breaking net earnings and strong same-store merchandise revenue growth across the network. This year, we once again proved our commitment to organic growth by initiating a pipeline of activities focused on bringing more customers to our locations, enhancing our offerings, and greatly expanding the Circle K brand across the globe. We also hit milestones with our recent acquisitions, as we surpassed our CST synergies target and are moving along with the integration of Holiday into the broader network.
We continue to take great pride in reducing our debt and further strengthening our balance sheet. With the exceptional cash flow generated this year and the faster-than-anticipated deleveraging plan, we have once again created impressive return on equity and positioned ourselves to create more value for our shareholders.
This year, I am also humbled by and proud of our initial Sustainability Report, as it reflects the breadth and depth of our team members’ lasting contributions to the communities where we work and live.
Our five-year strategy
To keep building on our success, this year we set ourselves an ambitious objective for the future: to double our financial results again by 2023. We started with a top-to-bottom analysis of where we are, where we want to go, and what are the next steps to double again.
From there, our strategy was crafted on the understanding of current and future market dynamics, upcoming trends in convenience and fuel, as well as our deeply-rooted ambition to improve the customer journey and drive more traffic to our locations. This prompted us to refine our mission – to make our customers’ lives a little easier every day – and develop a detailed roadmap centred on five fundamental focus areas.
Whether we are working on a differentiated customer experience, attractive offers, simplified business systems or growing our network, we know none of this is possible without our proud team members across the network. Our people are a key differentiator in how we will remain an industry leader and reach these strategic targets.
Our next steps
Our strategy optimizes our global business functions while maintaining our super-local focus on regional business units that understand the needs and appetites of our customers. We recognize that we need to simultaneously be leaders in the digital arena, fuel and mobility, food and beverage, organic growth and acquisitions, and be a recognized positive employer. I am extremely proud of the teams who developed the business in 2019 and are already hard at work on the strategy. By growing together, we will continue our journey to become the world’s preferred destination for convenience and fuel.