Whole Foods Shares Jump as Results, Outlook Top Forecasts
A Whole Foods Market in Dallas.
Donna Mcwilliam

Whole Foods posted quarterly results that exceeded analysts' expectations and raised its outlook for the fiscal year on Tuesday, sending shares higher in late trading.

The organic food retailer said it earned 32 cents a share in its fiscal first quarter, compared with 20 cents a share this time last year.

Sales for the most recent quarter reached $2.64 billion, up from $2.47 billion in the same period last year.

Analysts who follow the company projected Whole Foods to earn 26 cents a share on revenue of $2.60 billion.

The Grocery Indicator

Whole Foods boosted its first-quarter revenue guidance to between $1.20 a share and $1.25 a share. Analysts' earlier per-share consensus stood at $1.10.

Shares of Whole Foods rose more than 6 percent in extended trading Tuesday.

The company's stock rose more than 2 percent to finish the regular New York Stock Exchange session at $30.52. Volume exceeded 6 million shares before the closing bell.

"Given the strong sales momentum we are seeing, there are many reasons to be bullish about our future results," said John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods in a prepared statement. "It is relatively early in our recovery, however, and there is still a lot of uncertainty regarding where the economy, the consumer, and competition go from here."

"Our raised outlook for the fiscal year reflects our cautiousness on the low end and our optimism on the high end," he continued. "As the world moves out of this recession, we believe we are well positioned to produce strong returns for our shareholders."