Whole Foods quarterly profit rises; same-store sales growth slowing

July 31 Wed Jul 31, 2013 4:23pm EDT

July 31 (Reuters) - Whole Foods Market Inc on Wednesday reported a third-quarter profit that beat Wall Street's view, but the company said the growth rate for closely watched same-store sales has slowed so far in the current quarter, and its shares slipped 1.2 percent in extended trading.

Same-store sales, a key gauge of performance for retailers, jumped 7.5 percent for the quarter that ended July 7.

So far in the fiscal fourth quarter, same-store sales are up 5.8 percent.

Austin, Texas-based Whole Foods, the largest U.S. natural and organic grocery chain, said third-quarter net income increased 21 percent to $142 million, or 38 cents per share - a penny better than the average estimate compiled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Whole Foods shares were down 66 cents to $54.94 in extended trading. (Reporting by Lisa Baertlein in Los Angeles; Editing by Leslie Adler)