Novell Inc.'s net sales for this year's first fiscal quarter are up 48 percent from last year, and the company's net income is up 77 percent, company officials said.

"Results for the first quarter were in line with management's expectations," said Ray Noorda, president of Novell. "Historically, the company's first quarter is a challenge because the quarter spans three major holidays, which means fewer selling and shipping days."An anticipated increase in product development expenses had an impact on net income per share for the first quarter, he said.

Net sales for the quarter, ending Jan. 28, were $79 million, compared with last year's $54 million. First-quarter net income was $9.6 million, compared with $5.4 million in 1988. Net income per share was 35 cents for first quarter 1989 vs. 20 cents for 1988.

Noorda said shipments of software products represented 69 percent of revenues during the first quarter, compared with 55 percent for the similar period in fiscal 1988 and 65 percent in the fourth quarter of fiscal 1988.