Whole Foods lowers 2014 sales forecast; shares slip

Wed Feb 12, 2014 4:18pm EST

Feb 12 (Reuters) - Whole Foods Market Inc on Wednesday lowered its 2014 sales forecast after first quarter sales missed Wall Street expectations, and the grocery chain's shares fell 2.9 percent in after-hours trading.

Same-store sales, a key gauge of performance for retailers, rose 5.4 percent for the fiscal first quarter ended January 19.

Austin, Texas-based Whole Foods, the largest U.S. natural and organic grocery chain, now expects 2014 same-store sales growth of between 5.5 percent to 6.2 percent, from a previous forecast range of 5.5 percent to 7 percent.

Net income rose to $158 million, or 42 cents per share, from $146 million, or 39 cents last year. Overall sales rose 9.9 percent to $4.24 billion. (Reporting by Phil Wahba in New York and Lisa Baertlein in Los Angeles; Editing by Nick Zieminski)

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