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Comps Up 8.2% at Whole Foods

AUSTIN, Texas — Whole Foods Market here said Wednesday that net income for the third fiscal quarter was up 32% over year-ago results, driven by an 8.2% gain in comparable-store sales.

Net income totaled $116.8 million for the 12-week quarter, which ended July 1. Sales were up 14% for the period, to $2.7 billion.

"In an economic environment that is proving to be difficult for many retailers, we are thriving and pleased to report another quarter of strong growth and excellent results for our stakeholders," said Walter Robb, co-chief executive officer, Whole Foods Market.

Identical-store sales, which exclude six relocations and two expansions, were up 8%. The company said comp and ID sales in the third quarter were negatively impacted by 62 basis points due to the early Easter this year relative to a year ago. Gross profit was 36% of sales — up 62 basis points — which the company attributed to improvements in occupancy costs and cost of goods sold.

For the 40-week, year-to-date period, net income was also up 32%, to $352.8 million, on a 13% increase in sales, to $8.8 billion. Comps were up 8.8% through three quarters, and ID sales rose 8.4%.

The company said it opened a record nine new stores, including one relocation, in the third quarter. In the current fourth quarter, Whole Foods has opened one store so far and expects to open six additional stores, for a total of 25 new stores opened during the fiscal year. It currently has 329 stores in total.

Whole Foods said it has recently signed new leases for locations in Palm Desert, Calif.; Pompano Beach, Fla.; Park Ridge, Ill.; Wichita, Kan.; Boston, Mass.; Columbia, Md.; Kansas City, Mo.; Lincoln, Neb.; Parsippany, N.J.; Wynnewood, Pa.; Dallas; and Houston. These stores are scheduled to open in fiscal 2014 and beyond.

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