Rising fuel costs helped push the first quarter at Glacier Water Services into the red, despite a modest rise in sales volumes and value.

Glacier achieved first quarter revenues of US$20,880,000, up 1.2% over the same period last year.

The company said the rate of growth was moderated by a couple of factors including soft sales in the Midwest driven by cold and wet weather and the impact of replacing some mature locations with newer developing locations. On a same store basis, sales increased by 5.3% as compared to last year.

Loss from operations for the first quarter was $245,000 driven by higher operating costs to support new location growth and increased fuel costs.

Revenues for the quarter ended 30 March 2008 increased to $20,880,000 from $20,638,000, representing a 1.2% increase versus last year. The increase in revenue was primarily the result of higher volume per machine and more machine locations year-over-year.

Brian McInerney, chief executive officer of Glacier Water, said: "The loss from operations for the first quarter 2008 includes non-cash compensation expense of $80,000 as compared to $62,000 for the first quarter 2007. Additionally, the company incurred higher operating costs in the form of labour, machine maintenance, and fuel costs. Fuel costs in particular increased $83,000 as compared to last year.

The company's net loss applicable to common stockholders for the first quarter was $2,440,000, or $0.91 per basic and diluted share, compared to a loss of $2,171,000, or $0.84 per basic and diluted share for the same period last year.