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Whole Foods Falls After Q3 Report (WFM)

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Whole Foods (NASDAQ: WFM) released its fiscal third-quarter earnings results after the closing bell on Wednesday.

The company beat Wall Street earnings per share estimates, but revenue came up short of expectations. Whole Foods also provided guidance for the fiscal fourth-quarter, raised its 2013 outlook and provided guidance for fiscal 2014. In late trade, the stock was last down a little more than two percent to $54.31.

Management Commentary

"We are dedicated to providing communities with fresh, healthy, natural and organic food and are on track to deliver our fourth consecutive year of increases in new store openings. We continue to gain market share and see demand for 1,000 Whole Foods Market stores in the U.S. alone," said Walter Robb, co-chief executive officer of Whole Foods Market.

"Our outstanding operational performance is funding our growth, and our new stores are creating a cycle of innovation across the company. We have signed 50 new leases over the last 12 months, increasing our development pipeline to 94 leases, and expect accelerating square footage growth for several years to come."

Fiscal Q3 Financial Results

The company reported net income of $142 million or $0.38 per share, compared to $117 million or $0.31 per share, in last year's corresponding period. This beat analysts' consensus EPS estimates of $0.37 by a penny.

Sales in the quarter were up 12 percent to $3.06 billion from $2.73 billion a year ago. This came up short of analysts' consensus revenue estimates of $3.09 billion.

Related: Benzinga's Market Wrap covers Tuesday's biggest stock movers.

Q4 and Fiscal 2013-2014 Guidance

Looking ahead to the fourth-quarter, Whole Foods said that it expects earnings per share between $0.30 and $0.31 on sales growth of 3 percent to 4 percent. Currently, analysts expect the company to report EPS of $0.31 on sales growth of 5.20 percent in Q4.

For the fiscal year, Whole Foods lifted its guidance range. The company now expects to report EPS of $1.45 to $1.46 on sales growth of 11 percent.

Previously, Whole Foods guided for EPS of $1.43 to $1.45 on sales growth of 10 percent to 11 percent. Currently, analysts have consensus EPS estimates of $1.45 on sales growth of 11.40 percent.

For fiscal 2014, the company guided for EPS of $1.69 to $1.72 on sales growth of 12 percent to 14 percent. This compares to current consensus estimates calling for EPS of $1.72 on sales growth of 14.20 percent.

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