US retailer The Fresh Market has upped its forecast for annual earnings after a jump in half-year profits.

booked an increase in first-half profits, driven by increased sales.

For the six months to the end of July, net profit climbed 23.4% to US$23.9m. Operating profit amounted to $39.1m, a 20.6% increase on the prior-year period.

Sales rose 11.7% to reach $524m, the company reported today (31 August). Comparable-store sales increased 4.3% to $479.9m.

In the second quarter, net profit increased 7% to $10.5m, while operating profit climbed 43.2% to $16.9m. Sales in the period amounted to $259m, a 13.6% increase on the prior-year period.

"We are happy to report another healthy quarter of both sales and earnings growth," said The Fresh Market president and CEO Craig Carlock. "Our comparable-store sales grew 4.6 % and this marked our seventh consecutive quarter of comparable-sales growth of 4% or greater."

As a result, the firm has increased its EPS guidance from a range of $1.01 to $1.05 to a range of $1.03 to $1.06.