Canadian grocery retailer Alimentation Couche-Tard has reported an increase in quarterly profit, boosted by sales growth in the US Midwest.

The company posted earnings of C$24.1m (US$17.6m), or 28 cents a share, for the first quarter to 20 July, compared to $20.1m, or 23 cents a share, in the year-ago period.

Sales rose to $895.1m from $680.9m a year earlier. Couche-Tard said more than 80% of its sales growth stemmed from its acquisition of 404 Dairy Mart convenience stores in the US Midwest.

The company's US sales more than doubled to $359.1m, while same-store merchandise sales in the US rose 2%.

Couche-Tard's Canadian sales rose 6.1% to $536.0m, while same-store merchandise sales grew 4.5%.

"We are confident we will achieve solid growth in 2003-2004, both in Canada and in the Midwest. In addition to our recent acquisitions, we are constantly seeking further opportunities to expand,'' the company was quoted by the Canadian Press as saying.