Hot on the heels of Whole Foods

The Fresh Market is hungry for market share in the natural foods space and on the heels of solid second quarter growth said it was accelerating an already ambitious new store opening schedule.

The operator of 139 stores said sales for the second quarter ended July 28 increased 13.3% to $354.8 million and same store sales advanced 3.4%. Profits increased to $15.6 million, or 32 cents a share, compared to $13.3 million, or 28 cents a share the prior year.

"I am pleased that we delivered another quarter of double-digit sales and earnings growth,” said Craig Carlock, president and CEO of The Fresh Market. “Comparable store sales continued to improve from prior quarters and gross margin expanded,even in the face of rising product cost inflation. We also opened five stores this quarter and remain on track to achieve record new store openings this fiscal year."

A total of 21 to 22 new stores are planned for this year with 10 to 12 of those stores scheduled to open during the company’s third quarter. In addition, the company said it expects to accelerate the timetable for openings in 2014 which will cause a portion of capital expenditure to be incurred earlier than previously expected.

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