US convenience store operator The Pantry posted an increase in second-quarter profit yesterday (5 May) and raised its 2009 merchandise revenue outlook.

For the quarter ended 26 March, net income reached US$6.3m, compared with a loss of $5.1m a year earlier.

Revenue however, fell 36% to $1.31 billion. Total costs and operating expenses also declined, to $1.29bnn in the quarter.

Despite this, merchandise revenues for the second quarter were up 2.4% overall and 1.3% on a comparable store basis from last year’s second quarter. The company said it now sees full-year merchandise revenue of $1.62bn to $1.66bn, compared with its previous forecast of $1.60bn to $1.63bn.

EBITDA was $49.8m compared with $40.1m a year ago.

Chairman and CEO Peter Sodini said: “We are pleased to report solid second quarter operating results in the face of a continued challenging retail environment. In our merchandise business, comparable sales and gross margins both showed sequential improvement from the first quarter. The results also benefited from our ongoing expense reduction initiatives.”

For the first six months of fiscal 2009, net income reached $45.8m from a net loss of $1.8m in 2008. EBITDA was up 72.6% to $161.6m.