US natural foods retailer Whole Foods Market has reported an 8% rise in quarterly net income and raised its earnings outlook for the current fiscal year.

The Austin, Texas-based company posted net income of US$23.8m, or 38 cents a share, for the fourth quarter to 28 September, compared to earnings of $22m, or 36 cents a share, a year earlier, reported Dow Jones News Service.

Total sales rose 18% to $751m from $638m in the year-ago period. Same-store sales rose 8.3%.

The company said Hurricane Isabel and the blackout in the Northeast had cut fourth-quarter earnings by $1m.

Whole Foods forecast first-quarter earnings of between 56 and 58 cents per share, compared to 42 cents per share a year earlier.

For the full fiscal year, the company expects earnings of between $1.88 and $1.96 per share, compared to a previous forecast of $1.87 to $1.95 per share.