Whole Foods sales whiff, shares tank

Whole Foods on Wednesday reported sales that missed analysts expectations, as it continued to focus on cutting costs and consumer prices.

The grocery-store chain reported fiscal-third-quarter sales totaling $3.70 billion, and adjusted earnings per share of $0.37.

Analysts had estimated that Whole Foods earned $0.37 in adjusted EPS on revenue of $3.72 billion, according to Bloomberg.

Whole Foods shares fell by as much as 4% shortly after the earnings results crossed.

Comparable-store sales — at locations open for at least one year — fell 2.6%, greater than an expected decline by 2.4%.

The company has been focusing on cutting costs to improve its performance. This could also lead to cheaper groceries for its customers; Whole Foods is currently one of the most expensive places to buy food.

The company is launching a new chain of stores, called 365 by Whole Foods Market, to directly compete with the likes of Trader Joe’s and Kroger. To offer cheaper items, the company scaled back on the design and furnishing of the new stores.

“Through lower capital and operating costs, we are able to offer great values to our customers, and the response has been overwhelmingly positive,” said John Mackey, co-CEO of Whole Foods Market, in the earnings statement.

More to come …

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