Whole Foods tightens 2013 sales forecast, shares fall

Wed Feb 13, 2013 4:31pm EST

Feb 13 (Reuters) - Whole Foods Market Inc, the largest U.S. natural and organic grocery chain, lowered on Wednesday the top end of its 2013 forecast for sales at established stores and its shares fell 7.3 percent.

Austin, Texas-based Whole Foods said net income for its fiscal first quarter ended Jan. 20 rose 24 percent to $146 million, or 78 cents per share.

Total sales increased 14 percent to $3.9 billion.

Based on those first-quarter results, it narrowed its 2013 forecast for growth in sales at established stores to a range of 6.6 percent to 8 percent from 6.5 percent to 8.5 percent previously. Whole Foods maintained its guidance for full-year earnings per share of $2.83 to $2.87.

Whole Foods shares, which closed at $96.90 on Nasdaq, fell to $89.80 in extended trading.