I have never been prouder to be CEO of this company!
This year has clearly been one that we will always remember. In my almost 20 years with Couche-Tard,
I could have never predicted these last twelve months, in particular the last three, when an invisible threat evolved to challenge our businesses, our communities, and our families. We started this historic year as
a strong company—and through the compassion, care, and dedication of our team members and customers—ended it a better, stronger company.
Let me back up a little to January, as we came to the end of our third quarter and were on track to have our strongest fiscal year on record. We were hitting milestones of our five-year strategy, driving organic growth, expanding our network through new builds, growing our food program, rebranding at a rapid pace both at our stores and on our fuel courts, and improving the customer experience through innovative solutions.
I am extremely proud of this progress and the committed teamwork behind it.
It is because of this solid foundation that Couche-Tard was in a robust position to face the financial volatility and headwinds of the pandemic. We had good liquidities, a healthy balance sheet and developed robust contingency plans, which meant we could stay focused on meeting the needs of our people and customers. For a company whose mission revolves around “easy,” this was not easy; but once again, it did make me proud.
It is clear that through this crisis, our company and the convenience industry became increasingly essential to our communities. In the past, during hurricanes and other natural disasters, we have shown our importance to our localities. However, during this pandemic, we demonstrated on a global scale that we are always here for our customers. Our stores remained open, we maintained strict health and safety protocols, and served millions of free beverages to healthcare workers and first responders and free meals to families in need through our partnership with Feeding America.
No doubt, the future is uncertain and there are many challenges ahead, but I am confident that as we retool for the new normal, we will build on the lessons learned during COVID-19 and continue to progress with relevant technology and offerings, always pushing to make our customers’ lives a little easier every day. I am grateful for the trust our employees, customers, partners and shareholders showed us throughout this year and the pandemic.
If we measure a company by how it responds to challenge and controversy, then I must say that Couche-Tard is succeeding in ways we never imagined. Our store employees have become frontline heroes, we are part of the solution in the communities where we work and live, and, with our customary financial discipline, we are positioned to continue our growth journey. I have never been prouder to be CEO of this company!
Thank you to all our people, shareholders, partners and customers. We’re in this together, and you can continue to count on us.