AUSTIN, Texas — Whole Foods Market here yesterday said net income for the 12-week third quarter that ended July 1 fell about 9%, to $49.1 million, as pre-opening expenses doubled. Comparable-store sales of 7% for the quarter helped drive overall sales gains of 13.2%, to $1.5 billion. For the 40-week, year-to-date period, net income fell 9.3%, to $148.8 million, on a 12.3% gain in sales, to $4.8 billion. Comps were up 6.7% year-to-date. Separately, at the federal antitrust hearing yesterday to consider the Federal Trade Commission’s request to block the acquisition of Wild Oats Markets by Whole Foods, an attorney for Whole Foods argued that the FTC did not consider some relevant pricing data, such as how Whole Foods’ prices are impacted when Wild Oats exits a market where the two compete, according to reports. The hearing concludes today. Whole Foods said it expects a decision “by mid-August,” not this Friday, as previously reported.
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