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Whole Foods Shifts Strategy to Healthy

Whole Foods Shifts Strategy to Healthy - AUGUST 5 2009 As...

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AUGUST 5, 2009 As Sales Slip, Whole Foods Tries Health Push By KATY MCLAUGHLIN and TIMOTHY W. MARTIN John Mackey, the chief executive of upscale grocer Whole Foods Market Inc., is planning to reposition the struggling Austin, Texas, chain as a champion of healthy living in a return to its natural-foods roots. After 15 years as a gourmet destination selling prime beef, crusty white bread and rich chocolate cake, Whole Foods will re-embrace its original emphasis, mirroring Mr. Mackey's personal conversion to healthier eating -- and reflecting consumers' reluctance to spend money on the company's pricier foods. On Tuesday, Whole Foods posted a 3.1% increase in quarterly profit as cost-cutting offset its third consecutive quarter of declining sales at stores open at least a year. Results exceeded Wall Street forecasts and shares jumped 13% to $28.03 in late trading on the Nasdaq Stock Market. Mr. Mackey said in an interview prior to Tuesday's results that Whole Foods this fall will launch a "healthy eating" initiative with cooking demonstrations and recipes. The blunt-speaking Mr. Mackey said the company's product selection had veered off-course.
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