March 17, 2020 / 9:44 PM / 19 days ago

UPDATE 1-Canada's Couche-Tard results beat on higher fuel sales, new merchandise

(Adds details, compares with estimates)

March 17 (Reuters) - Canadian convenience store operator Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc beat quarterly revenue and profit estimates on Tuesday, helped by higher fuel sales in the United States and improved merchandise at its stores.

To gain market share in a competitive retail environment, the Laval, Quebec-based company has been launching digital initiatives, such as its Easy Pay loyalty program, and adding coffee machines and hot dog offers across stores.

The company, which also owns Circle K convenience stores, has been relying on its upsell platform, in which the customer is prompted with new offers on a screen at the checkout.

Revenue from Couche-Tard's merchandise and services segment that sells fresh food and offers car wash services rose 2.6% to $4.3 billion.

Chief Executive Officer Brian Hannasch said the company saw positive trends in its U.S. fuel business with steady same-store fuel volumes.

Fuel revenue in the United States, its biggest market, rose 4.7% to $8.10 billion and in Canada increased 3.3% to $1.42 billion. However, in Europe it fell 3% to $2.32 billion.

Net income attributable to the company rose 7.8% to $659.9 million, or 59 cents per share, in the third quarter ended Feb. 2.

Excluding items, the company earned 52 cents per share, beating analysts' estimate by 8 cents.

Total revenue rose to $16.60 billion from $16.52 billion, beating the average analyst estimate of $16.43 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv. (Reporting by Nivedita Balu in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)

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