* 3rd quarter EPS $0.63 vs Street view $0.61
* Same-store sales up 8.2 percent
* Raises full-year profit outlook
* Co-CEO sees no data suggesting spending slowdown
* Shares jump more than 11 percent
July 25 Whole Foods Market Inc reported
quarterly profit that topped Wall Street's view after sales at
established stores defied the softening U.S. economy, sending
the upscale grocer's shares surging 11.5 percent in an
after-hours relief rally.
Investors had worried that Whole Foods' industry-leading
same-store sales would cool, especially after top-performing
restaurant chain Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc flagged
decelerating growth at its restaurants open at least 13 months.
Whole Foods shares lost nearly 7 percent of their value
after Chipotle's July 19 results sparked concern the relatively
affluent consumers who frequent them were reeling in spending.
Walter Robb, co-chief executive officer of Whole Foods
Market, said the company's results ran counter to that theory.
Robb told Reuters that Whole Foods' "bigger basket"
customers - generally higher-end, loyal shoppers who buy more
items and spend more per visit - increased purchases during the
"In an economic environment that is proving to be difficult
for many retailers, we are thriving," he said.
The Austin, Texas-based retailer, the biggest U.S. grocery
chain that focuses on organic and natural foods, has lured
well-heeled shoppers away from supermarkets such as Kroger Co
, Safeway Inc and Supervalu Inc. Left with
more price-sensitive shoppers, those mainstream grocers are
fighting for every sale.
Robb said Whole Foods would continue to gain market share by
further differentiating shopping at its stores, improving
competitive pricing and reinforcing its brand as "America's
healthiest grocery store."
Net income at Whole Foods was up 32 percent to $116.8
million, or 63 cents per share, for its fiscal third quarter
that ended July 1, topping analysts average estimate by 2 cents
per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Same-store sales at Whole Foods, the biggest U.S. grocery
chain that focuses on organic and natural food products, were up
8.2 percent - roughly in line with the 8.4 percent gain analysts
expected, according to Thomson Reuters data.
Those results were boosted by an increase in visits from
shoppers, who are concentrated among Millennials - the
generation approaching age 30 - and Baby Boomers who are retired
or approaching retirement.
Whole Foods' total sales for the quarter rose almost 14
percent to $2.7 billion.
Based on the third-quarter beat, Whole Foods raised its
full-year earnings forecast to a range of $2.51 to $2.52 per
share, up from $2.44 to $2.47 per share previously.
Whole Foods shares jumped to $94.25 after hours from their
close of $84.53.