US regional supermarket operator Village Supermarkets has said its first-quarter profit edged up 2.8% on increased sales and lower interest expense.

The company, which operates ShropRite supermarkets in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, posted net income of US$2.52m for the first quarter to 25 October, compared to $2.45m a year earlier.

Sales rose 4.7% to $226.7m, while same-store sales also rose 4.7%.

The company said sales in the latest quarter were helped by improvements at two stores opened in fiscal 2002 and at stores that were remodelled in fiscal 2003. Sales in the year-ago period were hurt by new store openings by competitors and high levels of promotional activity, reported Dow Jones News.