NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of Whole Foods Market (WFM) are plunging 8.73% to $30.70 in late-morning trading on Thursday after reporting lower than expected revenue and same-stores sales for the fiscal 2016 third quarter on Wednesday. 

After yesterday's market close, Whole Foods reported earnings of 37 cents per share on revenue of $3.70 billion vs. analysts' estimates of 37 cents per share on revenue of $3.73 billion. 

The Austin, TX-based supermarket chain reported a decline in same-store sales for the fourth consecutive quarter. Sales fell by 2.6% vs. analysts' estimates of a 2.3% drop, and quarter-to-date comps declined by 2.4%.

Oppenheimer lowered the company's fiscal 2017 earnings estimates after the results to $1.40 from $1.43 per share.

"On the negative side, QTD comp trends imply a much sharper deterioration than we expected," the firm said. 

Oppenheimer sees potential upside from the new "365 by Whole Foods" stores and from management cutting costs in the business, but thinks the recovery will be slower than expected.

"However, the recent weaker trends and more challenging grocery backdrop suggest a successful turn could take longer than we envisioned several months ago," Oppenheimer wrote. 

Separately, TheStreet Ratings objectively rated this stock according to its "risk-adjusted" total return prospect over a 12-month investment horizon. Not based on the news in any given day, the rating may differ from Jim Cramer's view or that of this articles's author. TheStreet Ratings has this to say about the recommendation:

We rate WHOLE FOODS MARKET INC as a Hold with a ratings score of C. The primary factors that have impacted our rating are mixed - some indicating strength, some showing weaknesses, with little evidence to justify the expectation of either a positive or negative performance for this stock relative to most other stocks. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and notable return on equity. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself and deteriorating net income.

You can view the full analysis from the report here: WFM

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