WHOLE FOODS MARKET has been an industry leader in terms of financial results, thanks in part to investments in its price image. “In an economic environment that is proving difficult for many retailers, we are thriving,” Walter E. Robb, co-chief executive officer, said during an industry presentation in July. Net earnings rose 32% to $116.8 million in the third quarter that ended July 1, while sales were up 14% to $2.7 billion, and identical-store sales increased 8% — ...

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