US retailer Weis Markets has booked a 7% rise in first-quarter profits thanks to increased operating efficiencies, the company said last week.

Net income for the quarter ended 26 March totalled US$18.6m, or 69 cents per share, versus net income of $17.4m, or 65 cents per share, for the year-ago period.

First-quarter net sales dropped 0.7% to $659.5m due to the divestiture of 18 unprofitable SuperPetz units and two under performing stores, the company said. Identical store sales increased 0.6%, the group emphasised.

"Our company achieved these results at a time of continuing consumer caution and during a period when increased wholesale inflation continues to outpace retail price inflation," Weis president and CEO David Hepfinger said.