Medifast reported that sales of its nutrition and weight loss products surged 66 percent last year to $501 million, a new high for the Baltimore-based company.

The company also announced that earnings more than doubled to $55.8 million in 2018, up from $27.7 million on sales of $301.6 million in 2017. Earnings per share climbed to $2.19 last year from $1.44 a year earlier.

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Despite the gains reported late Tuesday, Medifast shares slipped in Wednesday trading, down 2.7 percent to $128.70 each.

In the fourth quarter, Medifast earned $15.6 million, or 75 cents per share, up from $7.3 million, or 48 cents per share, a year earlier. Sales jumped by $50 million to $109.1 million.

Medifast relocating headquarters to Harbor East from Baltimore County

Medifast relocating headquarters to Baltimore City

"We are very pleased with our strong finish to 2018," Medifast CEO Dan Chard said in a statement. "We reached a significant corporate milestone generating over $500 million in annual revenue and profitability exceeded our expectations."

Medifast attributed the gains to the success of its Optavia-branded products sold through a network of coaches. The total number of active earning coaches increased to 24,100 in the latest quarter, compared to 15,000 a year earlier.

Medifast plans to expand into Hong Kong and Singapore in 2019.

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