Fourth-quarter results at 7-Eleven have been welcomed by investors, as the US/Canada convenience store chain revealed a better than expected 35% increase in net income to US$14.2m, representing earnings of 13 cents a share.

Analysts had anticipated 11 cents a share earnings from the 5700-outlet strong chain.

Sales also rose by 6.6%, to US$2.29bn, but during the first half of 2001, the group expects to witness a slower rate of merchandise sales, which contributed US$1.61bn to the recent results and revealed a 2.1% increase.

Looking to the second half however, the outlook is more favourable, largely prompted by expectations of improvement in gasoline market conditions.