US organic and natural foods retailer, Whole Foods Market, has reported a rise in profit in the fiscal first quarter to 19 January, helped by the opening of new stores and a strong sales performance at existing stores.

The retail chain said net income for the quarter was US$25.6m, compared to $20.1m a year earlier, beating analysts’ average estimates.

Sales in the first quarter rose to $923.8m from $780.8m in the year-ago period, while sales at existing stores rose 10.5%, reported Reuters.