Lakewood, Colorado-based retail chain Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage reported sales and income gains in the second quarter of fiscal 2018.

Natural Grocers’ net sales increased 12.3 percent to $216 million in the quarter, and daily average comparable store sales rose 7.1%.

The chain’s net income increased 13.6 percent to $3.4 million with diluted earnings per share of 15 cents.

Going forward, Natural Grocers is raising its comparable stores sales growth projections to 3.5 to 4.5 percent for 2018 and narrowing its diluted earnings per share outlook to 43 to 50 cents.

"Sales momentum continued to accelerate during the second quarter, which, combined with more focused pricing and promotional activities, generated year-over-year growth in both EBITDA and diluted earnings per share," says Kemper Isely, Natural Grocers’ co-president.  “We fine-tuned our pricing and promotional investments during the second quarter, resulting in an improved gross margin relative to the first quarter while delivering enhanced value to our customers. Our strong sales growth and prudent new store expansion strategy enabled us to leverage expenses to support improved earnings."