(Reuters) - Specialty grocer Fresh Market Inc TFM.O posted better-than-expected quarterly results on improved margins and forecast a higher full-year profit, sending its shares up as much as 14 percent.
The company expects full-year per-share profit to increase 20 to 25 percent to between $1.28 and $1.34 per share this fiscal.
First-quarter net income rose to $19.3 million, or 40 cents per share, from $13.5 million, or 28 cents per share, a year ago.
Analysts on average had expected the company to earn 36 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Sales at Fresh Market rose 22.8 percent to $324.8 million, ahead of the $310.4 million analysts had expected.
Gross margins increased to 34.7 percent from 33.87, last year.
Same-store sales at Fresh Market, which operates 116 stores in 21 U.S. states, rose more than 8 percent during the quarter.
Retailers like Fresh Market and Whole Foods Market Inc (WFM.O) cater to health-conscious and generally upscale shoppers, and have outperformed cheaper-priced rivals like Kroger Co (KR.N), Safeway Inc SWY.N and Supervalu Inc (SVU.N).
Whole Foods Market Inc WFM.N also rang up a quarterly profit beat earlier this month and raised its full-year earnings forecast.
Fresh Market shares were up 11 percent at $54.53 on Wednesday, making it the third-biggest percentage gainer on the Nasdaq.
Reporting by Meenakshi Iyer in Bangalore; Editing by Sreejiraj Eluvangal