US nuts and snacks group Diamond Foods has posted a 10% rise in sales for the year to July 2007 to US$522.6m.

Fourth-quarter sales rose by 5% to $112.4m. However, earnings per share for the quarter were $0.05 compared with $0.21 in the fourth quarter of last year.

"We finished the year with a lot of momentum, and are well-positioned for a great year in fiscal 2008," said president and CEO Michael J. Mendes.

Diamond reported that its North American retail sales growth of 21% exceeded its initial target of 15% growth. Culinary nut sales rose by 9%, while snack sales were up by 95%. In-shell sales rose by 4%.

Looking ahead, Diamond said it expects strong North American retail sales growth in the 2008 fiscal year as a result of continued distribution and share gains by its snack products and growth for its culinary products.

The company is targeting growth in snack sales of between 50% and 65%, and North American retail sales growth of at least 19%.

Total revenues are forecast to be between $530m and $550m, with the company anticipating EBITDA of $35.9m to $38.5m.