Whole Foods posts profit but revenues disappoint

SAN RAFAEL, CA - FEBRUARY 17: A sign is posted in front of a Whole Foods store February 17, 2010 in San Rafael, California. Whole Foods Market reported a 79 percent surge in first-quarter earnings with a profit of $49.7 million, or 32 cents a share, compared to $27.8 million, or 20 cents a share, one year ago. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images) Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

NEW YORK Whole Foods Market Inc. (WFM) says its profit rose by 21 percent in the latest quarter, as the organic grocery store chain saw sales increase and costs ease. Nevertheless, revenues came in below Wall Street's expectations and the stock took a dive in after hours trade.

The company, based in Austin, Texas, says comparable store sales — a key metric because it strips the impact from newly opened or closed locations — rose 7.5 percent. It raised its outlook for the year slightly.

Whole Foods Markets Inc. earned $142 million, or 38 cents per share, which was a penny more than analysts expected, according to FactSet. A year ago, the company earned $117 million, or 31 cents per share.

Revenue rose 12 percent to $3.06 billion. Analysts had expected $3.09 billion.

Shares fell 3 percent in after-market trading to $53.70.

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