(May 7) Strengthened by a new marketing and merchandising program, Wild Oats Markets, Inc., Boulder, Colo., recorded its fifth-straight quarter of increased same-store sales.

Same-store sales at the natural and organics foods retailer were up 7.3% in the first quarter of 2002, continuing a pattern of accelerated growth established a year ago. In the previous four quarters, Wild Oats’s sales have grown 1%, 3.9%, 5.5% and 5.7%, respectively.

Net sales for the company were $233 million for the first quarter of 2002, up 6.2% from $219 million in the first quarter of 2001.

The company’s Fresh Look marketing and merchandising program, which aims to introduce Wild Oats to a wider variety of customers, was cited by both the company and an industry analyst, U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray, as a key to the company’s success.