US-based convenience store operator 7-Eleven has reported a 15% fall in second-quarter profit due to lower licensing gains from Japan and higher expenses.

Dallas-based 7-Eleven, which is the world’s largest convenience store chain, posted net income of US$33.4m, or 29 cents a share, for the second quarter, compared to $39.3m, or 33 cents a share, a year earlier, reported Reuters.

The company, which operates and franchises more than 25,000 stores in 18 countries, said core earnings, which exclude non-operating items, fell to $38m, or 32 cents a share, from $42.5m, or 36 cents a share, in the year-ago period.

7-Eleven reiterated its previous forecast for full-year 2003 core earnings of between 70 and 75 cents per share.

Merchandise sales, excluding petrol, rose 5.2% to $2.0bn, helped by higher sales of fresh food and non-carbonated beverages. US same-store sales were up 2.3%.