NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of Whole Foods (WFM) have gotten stale. And unless management makes some drastic changes, investors will have to stomach more losses -- that's at least until these shares, which are still expensive, trade down on more realistic expectations.
Whole Foods stock was trading at $38.79 on Monday at 11:45 a.m., up 0.7%. Shares have plummeted 33% on the year to date. But if you were one of the smart investors who acted on my sell recommendation nine months ago, you saved yourself a lot of pain. At that time, shares of Whole Foods traded around $56, or 31% higher.
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What's more, the stock then commanded a price-to-earnings ratio of 40. Wall Street assumed Whole Foods, whose name became synonymous with health, would deliver infinite growth. It's an assumption many investors regret today. Here's what I said at the time:
"I'm not discounting the fact that Whole Foods is a well-run company, one that operates at a high rate of efficiency. But at the same time I'm not willing to ignore that chains such as The Fresh Market (TFM) and Natural Grocers (NGVC) have done quite well for themselves in a relatively short period of time. Not to mention Sprouts Farmers Market (SFM) , which sprouted out of nowhere to post 24% revenue growth and strong margins."
These are still the main talking points today regarding Whole Foods. And I don't believe, despite the recent decline, that much has been changed to improve the landscape. In fact, things might have gotten worse.