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Whole Foods Top Food Retail Stock in 2012

AUSTIN, Texas — Whole Foods Market led the field of food-retailing stocks again in 2012, with a gain of nearly 35% for the year, to close at $91.16 on Dec. 31.

It marked the fourth straight year that the natural and organic product specialist led the list of food retailers and wholesalers tracked by SN, after the company’s stock lost three quarters of its value in 2008 amid the economic downturn.

Providence, R.I.-based United Natural Foods Inc., Whole Foods’ supplier, came in at No. 2 with a gain of 34%, to close at $53.59.

Overall, 16 of the 24 food retailer and wholesalers saw gains in 2012. The SN Composite Index, calculated by Data Network, Huntington, N.Y., was up about 9.29% for the year, compared with a gain of 7.26% for the Dow Jones Industrial Average and a 13.5% increase in the S&P 500.

Read more: High-end Food Stocks Top Performers in 1st Half

The weakest performer in 2012 was Minneapolis-based Supervalu, which closed at $2.47, down 68.6% for the year as the company unveiled plans to seek a buyer for some or all of its assets.

Cincinnati-based Kroger Co. gained 9.7% for the year, to close at $26.02, and Safeway, Pleasanton, Calif., was down 10.75%, to close at $18.09.

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