US organic grocer Whole Foods Market has posted a 27% rise in second-quarter profit but failed to meet sales targets due in part to severe weather.

The retailer reported net income of US$25.6m, or 41 cents a share, for the quarter to 13 April, compared to $20.2m, or 34 cents a share, in the year-ago period.

Quarterly sales were up 16% to $725m. Comparable-store sales rose 7%, which was lower than the 8-9% that the company had forecast in February.

Whole Foods said it expects earnings for its full fiscal year 2003 to be at the low end of its forecasted range of between $1.62 and $1.69 a share, compared to analysts estimates of $1.69 a share, reported Reuters.

Whole Foods forecast 2003 sales growth at the low end of its previously estimated 15-20%.