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Lifeway shares get lift on strong sales results

MORTON GROVE, Ill. (AP) -- Shares of Lifeway Foods advanced Wednesday after the company released preliminary results showing net sales of its kefir cultured dairy products rose 27 percent during the first quarter.

The Morton Grove, Ill.-based company said sales rose to $24.7 million, from $19.4 million, for the three months ended March 31. Lifeway Foods Inc. attributed the growth to expanded retail distribution, new products and increased sales of existing products.

The company's stock was up 40 cents, or almost 4 percent, at $11.65 in after-hours trading following a 2-cent decline during the regular session.

Lifeway makes a variety of cultured kefir products, including frozen bars and smoothies. CEO Julie Smolyansky said the company has been building brand awareness with consumers who want high-protein, low-fat foods with probiotic cultures.

The company reports its full first--quarter results May 15.