Canadian convenience retailer Couche-Tard has booked a jump in third-quarter earnings, with a higher contribution from merchandise sales boosting the bottom line.

Net earnings during the third-quarter rose 28.1% to C$182.3m. Excluding one-time items, net earnings would have been approximately $175m compared with$153m for the third quarter of fiscal 2013. EBITDA increased by 7.5% compared to the corresponding period of the previous fiscal year, reaching $425.1m.

Sales dropped to $11.1bn, a decrease of 3.3% on the year. Couche-Tard attributed the decline to the , divesture of our European Liquefied Petroleum Gas business. Same-store merchandise revenues up 3.8% in the U.S., 0.9% in Europe and 2.2% in Canada, the company stressed.

Seperately, the group said long-time chief executive Alain Bouchard will stand down and take on a role as executive chairman. He will be replaced by COO Brian Hannasch.