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Whole Foods Profit Jumps on Demand for Organic Foods

By Matt Townsend
May 02, 2012 4:28 PM EDT 6 Comments
Whole Foods earnings
Whole Foods earnings

Whole Foods Market Inc. (WFM), the largest U.S. natural-goods grocer, posted second-quarter profit that topped analysts’ estimates on increased demand for organic foods.

Net income climbed 31 percent to $117.7 million, or 64 cents a share, from $89.9 million, or 51 cents, a year earlier, the Austin, Texas-based company said today in a statement. Excluding some items, profit was 64 cents a share. Analysts projected 59 cents, the average of 23 estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Co-Chief Executive Officers Walter Robb and John Mackey have pushed the company’s 365 Everyday Value brand to attract shoppers looking for more affordable choices. The chain of more than 300 stores, which has also been working to lure nutrition- conscious consumers, is opening more locations in urban areas to expand sales.

“Sales trends remain strong as it appears that the growth of the natural and organic industry has accelerated,” Meredith Adler, an analyst for Barclays Plc., wrote in a note to clients before the results were announced.

Whole Foods rose 2.8 percent to $86.63 at 4:22 p.m. in New York. At the close, the shares had gained 21 percent this year.

The company boosted its full-year earnings forecast. Profit will be as much as $2.47 a share for the fiscal year, up from a previous prediction of a maximum of $2.32. Analysts had projected $2.34, the average of 14 estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Sales in the quarter ended April 8 rose 14 percent to $2.67 billion, matching the average of 19 estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

To contact the reporter on this story: Matt Townsend in New York at mtownsend9@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Robin Ajello at rajello@bloomberg.net

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