Sysco (SYY) revealed stronger-than-expected second-quarter earnings and sales on Monday, as an increase in case volume helped offset higher costs for poultry and certain meats.

The Houston-based food distributor reported net earnings of $221 million, or 38 cents, compared with a year-earlier profit of $250 million, or 43 cents.

Excluding special items related to restructuring, Sysco said it earned 49 cents, beating average analyst estimates in a Thomson Reuters poll of 41 cents.

Revenue for the three months ended Dec. 29 grew by 5.4% to a second-quarter record of $10.8 billion, edging just ahead of the Street’s view of $10.7 billion.  However, food inflation ticked up about 2.5%.

In a statement, Sysco CEO Bill DeLaney, attributed the period’s solid performance to both organic and acquisition growth.

"Our 47,000 associates continued to effectively support our customers in the midst of challenging market conditions, including the impact of Hurricane Sandy," he said.

Shares of Sysco followed the broader market lower on Monday, slumping some 2.2% to $31.37 in recent trade.

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