NEW YORK (TheStreet.com) -- The supermarket chain often dubbed "Whole Paycheck" for its high-priced organic and natural foods may have to start settling for a smaller portion of its customers' salaries.
Whole Foods (WFM), the leading organics retailer in the U.S., recently reported first quarter results that fell short of Wall Street's expectations, with total sales increasing 10% to $3.65 billion and comparable store sales growing 3.6%. Analysts had been expecting slightly higher revenue and significantly, more than 5% in same-store sales growth.
Whole Foods' shares tumbled in the days since, and are now down about 15% year-to-date.
It's been an up-and-down year for Whole Foods, which reported disappointing earnings back in May 2014, but spiked 9% on its best-ever quarterly sales in November 2014. Analysts expect this May's disappointing results to persist, however, with the biggest problem being that the 1,200-store grocery chain is no longer the only player in the natural foods space.
Just about every grocery retailer, from big box stores Walmart (WMT) and Target (TGT) to traditional grocers such as Safeway (SWY) and Kroger (KR), now sells organics. And some new grocers focused on value-priced organics have started to emerge, such as Sprouts Farmers Market (SFM) and The Fresh Market (TFM).