US convenience store operator Casey's General Stores has reported a rise in first-quarter earnings driven by higher sales.

The company posted net income of US$15.9m, or 32 cents per share, for the first quarter to 31 July, compared to $14.0m, or 28 cents per share, in the same period of the previous year.

Net sales rose to $733.9m from $609.4m a year earlier. Sales of grocery and other merchandise rose 4.4% to $196.1m, while same-store sales increased 1.9%.

The company said one of its goals for the year is to acquire at least 43 stores and build 15 new stores to achieve 3.5% total store growth. In the first quarter, Casey's built one new store, completed three acquisitions, and signed written agreements for two more.