Sysco (SYY), which distributes food and related products to restaurants and college campuses, reported on Monday a slightly higher first-quarter profit that toppled analyst forecasts, as sharply higher sales helped to offset continued inflation.

The Houston-based company said it earned $302.65 million, or 51 cents a share, compared with $299.1 million, or 51 cents a share, in the same quarter last year.

Excluding one-time costs, Sysco earned 55 cents a share, beating the 52 cents analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had been expecting.

Revenue for the three-month period was $10.6 billion, up 8.6% from $9.8 billion a year ago, beating the Street’s view of $10.49 billion. The gains were partially offset by a 7.3% increase in food cost inflation.

"I am encouraged by our underlying business performance during the quarter as softening consumer sentiment contributed to ongoing challenges for the foodservice industry," said Sysco CEO Bill DeLaney.

While inflation continued to be broad based, Sysco said it was impacted most significantly by higher prices for dairy, meat and canned/dry products. Last year, inflation climbed 3.3%.

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