Canadian food processor and distributor, George Weston, has reported higher first-quarter profits, helped by a better performance by its grocery chain Loblaw.

The company reported earnings of C$134m (US$95.9m), or 96 cents a share, for the first quarter to late March, compared with $108m, or 79 cents a share, in the year-ago period.

George Weston’s sales increased 7% to $6.4bn from $6.0bn a year earlier.

Analysts polled by Reuters Research had forecast earnings of 93 cents a share on revenues of $6.43bn.