Vermont Pure Holdings has reported a lift in profits and sales for its first quarter results, despite rising costs and increased competition.

The US home and office water supplier said today (17 March) that total sales for the fiscal quarter ending 31 January increased 7% compared to the same time the previous year rising from US$15.3m to $16.4m, while gross profit also increased 7% up from $8.6m to $9.1m.

"Gross margin for the quarter, as a percentage of sales, of 56% was unchanged from year to year," said the company, posting a net income increase of 76% to $512,000 compared to $291,000 in the first quarter of fiscal year 2007.

Vermont Pure Holdings CEO Peter Baker said: "We are pleased we're able to increase profitability in the first quarter as the cost of fuel and raw materials continued to increase and the competitive landscape continued to intensify. We plan to dedicate more resources to sales of our core products and improve operating efficiencies throughout the organisation to sustain profitable growth throughout the year."

In September, the company reported that operational income for the nine months to the end of July fell to US$4.6m from $4.7m a year earlier. Sales in the period, however, registered an increase of 4% year-on-year, coming in at $48m.