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    Whole Foods Earnings Drop in Q1

    AUSTIN, Texas -- Coinciding with the announcement that it plans to acquire Wild Oats Markets, Whole Foods Market, Inc. said yesterday its first-quarter net income fell to $53.8 million, or 38 cents a share, from $58.3 million, or 40 cents, a year earlier.

    AUSTIN, Texas -- Coinciding with the announcement that it plans to acquire Wild Oats Markets, Whole Foods Market, Inc. said yesterday its first-quarter net income fell to $53.8 million, or 38 cents a share, from $58.3 million, or 40 cents, a year earlier.

    Its sales for the 16-week quarter ended Jan. 14 increased 12 percent to $1.9 billion. Comparable store sales increased 7.0 percent on top of a 13.0 percent increase in the prior year. Identical store sales (excluding three relocated stores and three major expansions) were up 6.2 percent.

    "We are pleased with our 7 percent comparable store sales growth in the first quarter, which was in line with our expectations and against a tough 13 percent comparison in the prior year," said John Mackey, chairman, c.e.o., and co-founder of Whole Foods, in a statement. "We are producing higher sales growth, comps, and sales per square foot than our public competitors. Given our record store development pipeline, continued anticipated acceleration in store openings, and now the announcement of our pending merger with Wild Oats Markets, we believe we are even better positioned to achieve our goal of $12 billion in sales in fiscal year 2010. Over the longer term, however, we believe our sales potential is much greater as the market continues to grow and as our company continues to improve."

    Whole Foods also said it has recently signed seven new store leases averaging 50,000 square feet in size which are as follows: Mill Valley, Calif.; Santa Cruz, Calif.; Fairfield, Conn.; Alpharetta, Ga. (a relocation); St. Louis, Mo.; Manhattan, N.Y.; and Charlottesville, Va. (a relocation).

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