Canadian retailer Couche-Tard said it remains "cautious" despite posting an increase in net earnings for the first half of its fiscal year.

For the 24 weeks ended 31 October, net income reached C$179.3m (US$170.6m) from C$144.8m in the previous year. Operating income increased 14% to reach C$262.9m.

Revenue, however, was down 15% on the prior year to C$7.5bn.

"We feel economic conditions remain fragile", said Alain Bouchard, president and CEO. "Accordingly, we prefer to remain cautious. Our second-quarter performance is nonetheless remarkable considering that the United States motor fuel gross margin was unusually high during the comparable period last fiscal year."

Net earnings in the second quarter fell to C$88.2m compared to C$97.6m in 2008.

Revenue dropped 16% on the previous year to C$3.82bn, although same-store sales rose 2.9% in the US and 5.2% in Canada.

The results, the company said, were partially offset by a higher income tax rate, a weakened Canadian dollar and a higher depreciation expense.

Raymond Paré, vice-president and CFO, added: "These results are very encouraging, especially considering that our teams are working very hard to improve the networks efficiency, product offering and customer service."