Hain Celestial has booked a 17.6% rise in first-quarter earnings and reaffirmed its full-year outlook, despite declining sales.

The organic and natural products company said that net income for the quarter rose to US$8.1m, from $7m last year. The group attributed the gain to a "robust" performance from its operations in the US and Continental Europe.

Sales declined to $230.5m, from $248.4m a year earlier, after deducting $38.4m of sales for poultry venture Hain Pure Protein.

In July, Hain ceded control of the venture to partner Pegasus Capital Advisors.

Hain said sales for the quarter were affected by a total of about $22m from destocking, its Celestial Seasonings SKU rationalisation, the phasing out of fresh sandwich supply to a major retail customer in the UK and currency exchange.

"The company realized more favorable fuel and commodity input pricing, cost containment and productivity initiatives," Irwin Simon, Hain's president and CEO, said.

Gross margins increased to 26.8% from 24% in the corresponding period.