Here's one unique way to keep an eye on Whole Foods' business since the grocer was scooped up by Amazon: monitor the number of cars in its parking lots.
Whole Foods' parking lots were fuller in September, JPMorgan reported, based on an analysis of satellite data provided by Orbital Insight. The acquisition of the organic grocery retailer was official starting Aug. 28.
For the month of September, car traffic at Whole Foods stores was up 4.6 percent, the biggest increase since June 2014.
To be sure, JPMorgan analyst Ken Goldman explained in a Wednesday note to clients that car traffic was "perhaps not as high as some observers may have expected."
A two-year stacked number has been falling since July. Car traffic on a two-year stacked basis is computed by adding the number of cars from the period referenced, for example, September 2017, to that of the same period one year ago.
In this case, car traffic at Whole Foods in September 2016 was down nearly 10 percent, dragging the latest two-year stacked number down. At the time, Whole Foods was struggling to grow same-store sales as it bounced back from being accused of price gouging.