US supermarket chain Ingles Markets has announced increased sales and earnings for the first quarter ended December 25, 2004.

Net income grew to $5.1m compared to $2.4 million in the same period a year earlier. Net sales rose to $559m, compared to $534m in the year earlier period.

"We couldn't be more pleased with the results of the first quarter of our fiscal year," said Robert P. Ingle, CEO. "Our comparable store sales remain very strong against high comparable store sales in the first quarter of last year. We believe we have gained a better understanding of our customers' needs over the last year and we look forward to continuing to provide them with a top notch shopping experience."