US coffee firm Green Mountain Coffee Roasters has reported a near 46% rise in fourth-quarter earnings, helped by a 27% rise in sales.

The company posted net income of US$1.4m, or 19 cents a share, for the quarter to 27 September, compared to $0.96m, or 13 cents a share, a year earlier. The result beat analysts’ expectations of 16 cents a share.

Sales rose 27% to $27.5m from $21.6m a year earlier. Shipments to supermarkets, convenience stores and the foodservice sector all rose in the quarter, reported Dow Jones News Service.

For the first quarter of fiscal 2004, the company expects sales of between $41.3m and $42.8m, and earnings of 32 to 35 cents a share.

The company also named Frances G Rathke chief financial officer. Rathke had served as interim CFO since April and held a similar position at Wild Oats Markets during 2001.