Juicy Returns at National Beverage

National Beverage (Nasdaq: FIZZ  ) , which makes a range of beverages -- including soft drinks, juices, and energy drinks -- posted positive first-quarter results on the back of impressive sales. The news comes after the stock recently hit a 52-week high. Investors couldn't have asked for more. Will things keep looking fizzy in the future?

The numbers
National Beverage earned $13.4 million in net income and increased its profit margin by 0.6 percentage points over the first fiscal quarter of last year. The company also saw case volume for its premium brands increase by 12% from last year. That jump sent revenues north by 2.5% over the year-ago period, all the way to $169 million. Higher revenues were also helped by a 4.3% increase in per -unit prices. Peers Dr Pepper Snapple (NYSE: DPS  ) and Leading Brands (Nasdaq: LBIX  ) , in contrast, reported flat and decreasing volumes, respectively.

What to look for in the future?
National Beverage plans to increase brand penetration in convenience stores, gas stations, and other smaller retailers, using independent distributors in addition to company-owned ones. This could be a significant move, as these markets generally fetch better margins. National Beverage is also developing new products -- including the brand names ClearFruit, Crystal Bay, and Rip It -- and introducing new serving sizes to specifically target these markets.

In recent quarters, margins have been under pressure because of high commodity prices. But that situation should change with the expected drop in those prices.

The Foolish bottom line
With its expansionary plans in place, one can expect National Beverage's sales growth to continue through the rest of the year. Though the share price has moved sharply recently, I believe there might be some juice left in it for investors with longer-term perspectives.

To stay updated on National Beverage or any of its peers as the company tries to broaden its reach, make sure to add the company to our free My Watchlist service. It'll deliver all the Fool's best news and analysis on the beverage industry in one central place.

Fool contributor Navneet Bajaj owns no shares in the companies mentioned above. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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