Market Overview

Whole Foods Throwing Unsustainable Fish Back

It was revealed on Friday (appropriately enough) that Whole Foods (NASDAQ: WFM) will stop selling fish caught in depleted waters or through ecologically damaging methods.

According to the Detroit Free Press, April 22 will see the chain stop carrying wild-caught seafood that is red-rated, the code which indicates that it is overfished or caught in a way that harms other species.

The seafood that will be removed from the shelves includes octopus, grey sole, skate, Atlantic halibut and Atlantic cod caught by trawls.

"In the long term, what we're really looking to do is help reverse trends of overfishing and bi-catch, so that really we can move the industry as a whole toward greater sustainability," said seafood quality standards coordinator Carrie Brownstein.

Whole Foods has always marketed itself as a source of healthier foods, has been strengthening its buying practices for years, and is just one of a large number of stores responding to customer concern about the sources of seafood.

John Hocevar, Greenpeace's oceans campaign director, said that, “It's pretty impressive to see that it was an issue that really wasn't on most of these companies' radar. And with encouragement from us and many others, they really did for the most part step up."

On Thursday, Goldman Sachs published a research report stating that WFM is a secular winner, with significant opportunity to grow its store base, expand margins, and improve its return on capital. However, with only 2.8% upside to Goldman's upwardly revised price target, after increasing its estimates, it sees better opportunities elsewhere in its coverage, prompting a Neutral rating.

“Earnings beats that have narrowed the gap between GS and consensus EPS estimates. While we believe continued strong sales should power EPS upside, much as it has the past three quarters, consensus FY2012/2013 EPS estimates have converged with our own, as we now sit only 1% above consensus versus 5% at the time of our upgrade.”

Posted-In: Goldman SachsNews Retail Sales Analyst Ratings

 

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