Shares in Canada's iconic coffee retailer Tim Hortons Inc. fell Thursday after first quarter earnings rose, but not by as much as analysts had predicted.

Profit rose by 2.3 per cent to $80.7 million, or 48 cents a share, compared with $78.9 million, or 45 cents, in the same period in 2010.

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Tim Hortons 3-month chart

Analysts, on average, had been expecting earnings of 51 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters.

Its stock closed down 4.1 per cent, or $1.95, to $45.92 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Earnings improved after same-store sales rose more than two per cent. Revenues were $643.5 million, above analyst expectations of $614 million, and up from $582.6 million a year ago.

Same-store sales are results for stores open at least a year, and make revenues comparable from one earnings period to the next.

Those sales rose two per cent in Canada and 4.9 per cent in the United States.

President and CEO Don Schroeder noted that Canadian same-store sales were affected by higher redemptions for food and beverage prizes in the company's popular Roll Up the Rim to Win promotional contest.

With files from The Canadian Press