US retailer The Fresh Market has lifted its target for underlying sales after posting a 3% increase in comparable-store sales in its first quarter.

The grocer, which has 131 stores across 25 US states, is now targeting a 2.5-4.5% rise in comp store sales in its financial year. The forecast compares to its guidance in March of 2-4% improvement. In the retailer’s last financial year, it managed to bump up comparable-store sales by 5.7%.

“Our customers are responding well to the current economic climate, which gives us incremental comfort with our full-year outlook for fiscal 2013,” president and CEO Craig Carlock said.

The Fresh Market held its forecast for diluted earnings per share of $1.51 to $1.58. Last year’s EPS was $1.33.

The retailer’s first-quarter results, which were for the period to 28 April, included a 14.5% increase in net income to $22.1m. Net sales grew 12.9% to $366.6m.

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