US-based weight-loss services company Weight Watchers has reported higher quarterly net income, boosted by strong sales.

The company posted net income of US$38.1m, or 35 cents per share, for the fourth quarter to 3 January, compared to $28.4m, or 26 cents per share, in the year-ago period.

Fourth-quarter net revenues grew 14% to $216.1m, while worldwide attendance growth in company-owned operations was 10%.

Operating income for the fourth quarter was $65.0m, an increase of 7% from $60.9m in the prior year's fourth quarter.

Weight Watchers' president and chief executive Linda Huett said 2003 had been a challenging year for the company, but that it had managed to deliver strong top and bottom line growth.

Huett said the company expects 2004 earnings to be between $1.90 and $2.00 per share.