WHOLE FOODS STUBS A TOE: FOURTH-QUARTER PROFIT FALLS

AUSTIN, Texas -- Whole Foods Market here last week posted a sharp decline in fourth-quarter profits, although the natural food retailer continues to far outpace traditional operators in its top-line sales growth.The company said a combination of factors hurt the bottom line in the 12-week fourth quarter that ended Sept. 25, including higher pre-opening expenses related to larger store size and the

AUSTIN, Texas -- Whole Foods Market here last week posted a sharp decline in fourth-quarter profits, although the natural food retailer continues to far outpace traditional operators in its top-line sales growth.

The company said a combination of factors hurt the bottom line in the 12-week fourth quarter that ended Sept. 25, including higher pre-opening expenses related to larger store size and the number of prepared food departments, a non-recurring charge for estimated losses from H

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