Whole Foods Market, the natural and organic food retailer, has reported a 21 per cent increase in sales for the first quarter of 2002 to $780.8 million (€895.8m).
The rise was driven by 16 per cent year-on-year square footage growth and better than expected comparable store sales growth of 9.4 per cent. Like-for-like sales increased 7.5 per cent for the quarter.
Net income for the quarter increased 34 per cent to $20.1 million from $15.0 million in the prior year.
"For the ninth consecutive quarter, we delivered top line growth of over 20 per cent, driven by impressive sales at both our new and existing stores," said John Mackey, chairman, president and CEO of Whole Foods Market.
" New stores produced average weekly sales of $380,000, and our comparable store sales increases continue to be the highest for public supermarket companies and among the highest in retailing overall."
During the quarter, the company acquired three stores, opened one new store in Maryland, relocated its 14,000 square foot store in Northridge, California, to a new 28,000 square foot location and closed two stores as previously announced. So far during the second quarter, the company has opened one new store in Kansas City and plans to open two additional stores.
It has also signed a lease for one new store in Madison, New Jersey, and currently has 20 stores in development with an average store size of 36,000 square feet. Approximately 25 per cent of these stores will be in new markets including Portland, Toronto, Pittsburgh, Albuquerque and Las Vegas.