Whole Foods income down 31% in quarter

by FoodBusinessNews.net Staff
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AUSTIN, TEXAS — Partly the result of considerations from Wild Oats, net income for Whole Foods Market, Inc. fell down 31% for the third quarter ended July 6.

Net income for the third quarter was $33,919,000, equal to 24c per share on the common stock, down from $49,067,000, or 35c per share, during the same quarter of the previous year. This included a negative impact of $4.9 million from Wild Oats.

Sales for the quarter were $1,841,242,000, up 22% from $1,514,420,000 during the same quarter of the previous year.

"Our business model has been highly successful, and we remain very bullish in our growth prospects as the market for natural and organic products continues to grow and as our company continues to evolve," said John Mackey, chairman and chief executive officer. "However, the challenging economic environment appears to be negatively impacting our sales. This, combined with our commitment to maintaining financial flexibility and investing prudently in our long-term growth, has let us to take a more conservative approach to our growth and business strategy over the short term."

The company announced it is reducing the number of stores it expects to open in fiscal 2009 to about 15, suspending the quarterly cash dividend for the foreseeable future and already has implemented some cost containment measures for the remainder of the fiscal year.

"We are committed to improving our financial results and believe these proactive steps are necessary to manage through the current challenging environment, enabling us to emerge stronger and better positioned to realize our growth potential and fulfill our long-term mission and core values," Mr. Mackey said.

For the nine months ended July 6, the company had net income of $113,022,000, or 81c per share, down 24% from $148,811,000, or $1.06 per share, during the same period of the previous year. Sales for the nine months were $6,164,993,000, up 27% from $4,848,361,000 during the same period of the previous year.

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