(Reuters) - Upscale grocery chain Whole Foods Market Inc (WFM.O) reported profit and sales above analysts' estimates, as its efforts to shed its high-price "Whole Paycheck" image bear fruit.
The company is investing in shorten check-out queues and plans to launch a chain of smaller, more value-focused stores next year.
Net income fell 6 percent to $157 million in the first quarter. On a per share basis, net income was flat at 46 cents per share as the company had a lower share count in the latest quarter.
Analysts on average were expecting 40 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Whole Foods said sales at established stores fell 1.8 percent in the first quarter ended Jan. 17.
Overall sales rose 3.4 percent to $4.83 billion, above the average analyst estimate of 4.81 billion.
The company's shares were down 0.4 percent at $28.75 in extended trading on Wednesday.
Reporting by Ramkumar Iyer in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva