The Austin, Texas-based company posted an adjusted profit of $89.9 million, or 51 cents a share, for the three months ended in March, on sales of $2.35 billion. The average estimate of analysts polled by
Thomson Reuters was for earnings of 46 cents a share in the March quarter.
The stock was last quoted at $62.98, up 5.4%, on volume of 1.45 million, according to Nasdaq.com. Based on a regular session close at $59.74, the shares were already up more than 45% in the past year.
Whole Foods also lifted its outlook for fiscal 2011, saying it now sees earnings of $1.87 to $1.90 a share, up from a prior forecast for a profit of $1.76 to $1.80 a share. The company boosted its same-stores outlook to growth of 7.9% to 8.9% for the year, and said it sees overall sales growth of 11.7% to 12.6%."These are the strongest overall results we have reported in the past five years," said John Mackey, the company's co-founder and CEO, in a press release. "Our solid execution is generating consistent cash flow, and with our long-term debt now fully repaid, we are considering other uses for our growing cash balance, including accelerating our growth, raising our dividend and repurchasing stock." Wall Street was in wait-and-see mode on Whole Foods ahead of the report with 15 of the 25 analysts covering the company rating the stock at hold. Other stocks getting a boost in late trades included JDS Uniphase (JDSU - Get Report), which advanced 9% to $21.85 on volume of more than 2.7 million after the optical networker posted an strong quarterly profit; and ION Geophysical (IO - Get Report), which fell more than 9% to $9.79 on volume of more than 45,000 after the company reported breakeven results for the first quarter but said one of its businesses is being "significantly impacted" by the turmoil in Libya. -- Written by Michael Baron in New York.
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