US retailer Ingles Markets has booked a drop in second-quarter profits as lower gasoline margins hit earnings.

For the three months ended 24 March, net profits totalled US$6.5m, compared with $7.7m earned in the prior-year quarter. Operating profits, however, rose 10.5% to $23.8m, the retailer said today (30 April).

Net sales in the period edged up 1.3% to $881.7m.

CEO Robert Ingle said the company was “pleased” with its sales growth in the second quarter, particularly given that last year’s second quarter included “a lot of inclement weather that resulted in higher sales for the prior year”.

“Our grocery margins were stable compared with last year; however, our profitability was affected by lower gasoline margins compared with last year,” Ingle said.

For the first six months of fiscal 2012, net income increased 11.3% to $17.1m, while operating profits edged up 1.9% to $54.2m. Sales in the period climbed 3.4% to $1.80bn.

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