Casey's General Stores Inc. reported a drop in per-share earnings in its third fiscal quarter, which ended Jan. 31, to 40 cents from 43 cents in the year-ago period, due in large part to what President and CEO Robert Myers said was a "challenging cigarette environment," according to a news release. Those sales did improve throughout the quarter, Myers said in the statement. Year-to-date, grocery and other merchandise sales increased 4.3 percent and gross profit increased 6.2 percent to $354.7 million. Year-to-date earnings per share were $2.26 versus $2.44 for the same period last year. Casey's board approved a quarterly dividend of 16.5 cents per share, payable May 15 to shareholders of record on May 1.