Whole Foods Market Inc. says shoppers bought more organic foods and name-brand products to help boost its second-quarter net income 33 percent.
The results prompted the company, based in Austin, Texas, to raise its full-year outlook on Wednesday.
Whole Foods earned $89.9 million, or 51 cents per share, for the quarter that ended April 10. That's up from $67.5 million, or 39 cents per share, a year earlier.
Revenue rose 12 percent to $2.35 billion, even with the Easter holiday falling in the following quarter.
The results beat analysts' expectations for earnings of 46 cents per share but fell just short of the $2.37 billion in revenue analysts anticipated, according to FactSet.
Whole Foods leaders say the company is back to near-peak performance after years of reshaping itself.
The grocer was hard hit during the recession. In response, it slowed its growth, cut its costs and offered more items at lower prices. It has since delivered consistent and industry-leading gains in sales and profitability.
Whole Foods still faces challenges, such as rising food prices, that threaten the entire industry. The company said it has selectively passed those costs along to shoppers, and it said the rising price for everything from coffee to fuel does make it cautious for the remainder of the year.
But company leaders say they are confident they can strike the right balance between rising costs and the prices it charges consumers.
The grocer said last quarter that its emphasis on organic foods has protected it somewhat from the fluctuations in commodity markets because organic produce trades under different contract conditions from traditionally grown produce.
"We believe it is increasingly important to offer a range of prices in each category to allow people to make choices, and we are focused on continuing to develop new products that are a better value to our customers, particularly in the commodity areas," co-founder and co-CEO John Mackey said.
Whole Foods says its customers are still concerned about value but are shopping more often and beginning to buy more higher-priced discretionary items like body care products and certain cheeses.
The company said quarterly sales at its stores open at least a year _ an important measure of financial performance because it excludes stores that recently opened or closed _ rose 8.3 percent.
Whole Foods said it has used its increasing cash flow to invest in stores, fully repay its long-term debt and deliver dividends to shareholders. Now the company is considering using its growing cash balance to grow faster, raise its dividend and repurchase stock.
The grocer plans to open 10 new stores through the remainder of the year. It expects to earn $1.87 to $1.90 per share for the year, a 10-cent increase from prior estimates.
The company also announced that it is changing its stock symbol to "WFM" from "WFMI" on Friday.
Whole Foods shares rose $3.16, more than 5 percent, to $62.90 in after-hours trading. They had ended regular trading Wednesday down 3 cents at $59.74.