Diluted earnings per share increased 17.0% to $0.32 Net sales increased 13.3% to $354.8 million Comparable store sales increased 3.4% GREENSBORO, N.C., Aug. 28, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Fresh Market, Inc. (Nasdaq:TFM), a high-growth specialty retailer, today announced unaudited sales and earnings results for its thirteen week second quarter ended July 28, 2013. Financial Overview In the second quarter of fiscal 2013, net sales increased 13.3% to $354.8 million and comparable store sales increased 3.4%, compared to the fiscal quarter ended July 29, 2012. Net income in the second quarter of fiscal 2013 was $15.6 million, compared to $13.3 million in the corresponding period in fiscal 2012. Diluted earnings per share in the second quarter of fiscal 2013 were $0.32, an increase of 17.0% over diluted earnings per share of $0.28 for the corresponding prior year period. Craig Carlock, President and Chief Executive Officer commented, "I am pleased that we delivered another quarter of double-digit sales and earnings growth. Comparable store sales continued to improve from prior quarters and gross margin expanded, even in the face of rising product cost inflation. We also opened five stores this quarter and remain on track to achieve record new store openings this fiscal year." Second Quarter Operating Performance Second quarter total net sales increased 13.3% to $354.8 million and comparable store sales increased 3.4% to $314.9 million compared to the corresponding prior year period. The second quarter comparable store sales increase resulted from a 1.8% increase in the number of transactions and a 1.6% increase in average transaction size. The Company's gross profit increased 13.6%, or $14.5 million, to $121.3 million in the second quarter of fiscal 2013, compared to the second quarter of fiscal 2012. For the same period, the gross margin rate increased 10 basis points to 34.2% compared to the corresponding prior year period. This increase in the Company's gross margin rate was primarily attributable to lower occupancy costs as a percent of sales, partially offset by product cost inflation.