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SEC Ends Mackey Investigation

BY CSA STAFF

Los Angeles Whole Foods Market said on Friday that Securities and Exchange Commission staffers have concluded a probe into its CEO’s anonymous Web chat-room messages about then-rival Wild Oats Markets and recommended no action be taken, according to a Reuters report.

Whole Foods said in July 2007 it had received an SEC inquiry related to CEO John Mackey’s anonymous postings on a Yahoo Inc. chat forum. Mackey for years used an alias when he posted positive comments about Whole Foods and critical comments about rival Wild Oats, which his company later acquired.

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More innovation emerges as Sial Montreal ends

BY CSA STAFF

MONTREAL Innovations come in many forms at Sial Montreal, closing today at Palais des congres de Montreal.

In the case of Le Grande, the innovations came in the form of packaing and product. The company makes pesto sauces, tapenades and aromatic sauces including sesame and pink peppercorn, orange and sunflower seed and lemon confit and pumpkin seed. The company just gave up its traditional glass jars in favor of super thick plastic pouches that stand on their own, pour through a resealable spout and are far lighter to transport than the former packaging. The product line, which had been available throughout Canada and in Zabars and Fairway in New York, got the interest of Whole Foods in its new form and it preparing to roll out at the retailer’s stores throughout North America.

Other innovative introductions include ice cider from Intermiel, which also produces maple liquor and its among the top producers of mead — or honeywine — in North America, a product it is looking to export to the United States. In the snack category, G.o.o.d.b.o.n is highlighing its Crunchy delight, maple chunk candies meant to provide a natural treat and act as a nut substitute for kids with allergies. And on the beverage side, Tasty Enterprises introduced hone and aloe vera iced teas. The company is making inroads in Florida and Washington, DC, but continues trying to expand its healthy green teas and line of bubble teas in the U.S.

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Amazon.com posts 1Q net sales growth

BY CSA STAFF

SEATTLE Amazon.com announced that net sales for its first quarter ended March 31 increased 37% to $4.13 billion compared with $3.02 billion in first quarter 2007. Excluding the $0.18 billion favorable impact from year-over-year changes in foreign exchange rates throughout the quarter, net sales grew 31% compared with first quarter 2007.

Operating income increased 36% to $198 million in the first quarter compared with $145 million in first quarter 2007. Excluding the $14 million favorable impact from year-over-year changes in foreign exchange rates throughout the quarter, operating income grew 27% compared with first quarter 2007.

Net income increased 30% to $143 million in the first quarter, or 34 cents per diluted share, compared with net income of $111 million, or 26 cents per diluted share, in first quarter 2007.

Our sales growth this quarter was driven by low prices and millions of in-stock items available for immediate shipment, said Jeff Bezos, founder and ceo of Amazon.com. Were grateful to our customers. 

The company expects second quarter net sales to be between $3.9 billion and $4 billion, or to grow between 34% and 41% compared with second quarter 2007.

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