(Adds context, 2013 earnings forecast; updates share move)
July 31 Whole Foods Market Inc on
Wednesday posted third-quarter profit that beat Wall Street's
view, but said the growth rate for closely watched same-store
sales has slowed in the current quarter, and its shares fell 3
Expectations were high ahead of the report and the company
delivered on forecasts that it would modestly raise its
full-year profit outlook. The upscale grocer's sales trends tend
to mirror those of Starbucks Corp, which reported
surprisingly strong results for the latest quarter.
Same-store sales, a key gauge of performance for retailers,
jumped 7.5 percent for the quarter ended July 7.
In the current fiscal fourth quarter, same-store sales are
up a less robust 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
Whole Foods' new full-year forecast calls for earnings of
$1.45 to $1.46 per share, compared with $1.43 to $1.45 per
The company's shares were down $1.68 at $53.90 in extended
(Reporting by Lisa Baertlein in Los Angeles; Editing by Leslie
Adler, Bernard Orr)