FINANCE

Whole Food Q2 profit surges 31%; on track to open 24 to 27 stores

BY Marianne Wilson

Austin, Texas — In what it called the best quarter in its 32-year history, Whole Foods Market’s second-quarter profit jumped nearly 31% on stronger sales. The company raised its full-year outlook on the results.

“Our exceptional results in the first half of the year have given us the confidence to significantly raise our guidance for the full year. We are confident that our sales momentum and operating disciplines will create continued positive results for our shareholders," Walter Robb, co-CEO said in a statement.

Whole Foods earned a better-than-expected $117.7 million for the quarter that ended April 8, up from $89.9 million in the same quarter last year.

Revenue rose nearly 14% to $2.67 billion, in line with expectations. Same-store sales rose 9.5%.

Co-founder and co-CEO John Mackey said that new Whole Food stores continued to show great year-over-year improvement and operating performance in the second quarter. Compared with last year’s class of new stores, this year’s class is 14% smaller in size, averaging 38,000 sq. ft., and produced average weekly sales per store of $576,000 translating to 23% higher sales per square foot of $791, Mackey said.

Whole Foods has signed 33 new leases over the last 12 months and is on track to open between 24 to 27 new stores in fiscal 2012, and 28 to 32 new stores in fiscal 2013.

“We currently have in development 70 stores totaling 2.5 million sq. ft., which translates to about 21% of our operating store base,” Mackey said on the call.

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OPERATIONS

Best Buy chief marketing officer resigns

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Best Buy’s chief marketing officer, Barry Judge, has resigned. His resignation follows the departure last month of chief executive Brian Dunn.

Judge is “leaving the company to explore the next chapter in his career,” Greg Hitt, a spokesman for Best Buy, said by e-mail, in a Bloomberg report.

Stephen Gillett, a former Starbucks executive who joined Best Buy in March, will take over responsibility for the chain’s marketing efforts, Minnesota Public Radio reported. Gillett was hired to bolster Best Buy’s e-commerce efforts as president of Best Buy Digital and Global Business Services.

Best Buy is searching for a new CEO in the wake of Dunn departure. Dunn is currently the subject of a board investigation of his personal conduct.

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FINANCE

Build-A-Bear Workshop narrows loss

BY Marianne Wilson

St. Louis — Build-A-Bear Workshop posted a narrower-than-expected loss for the first quarter. The retailer reported a net loss of $1.0 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2012, down from a loss of $2.3 million last year.

Consolidated net retail sales of $95.2 million represented a 1.6% increase compared to $94.2 million. Revenue came in at $96.4 million, missing the $97.6 million analysts had expected. Same-store sales in the quarter rose 3.6% in North America. Overall same-store sales rose 1.2%.

At the end of the quarter, Build-A-Bear Workshop operated 348 company-owned stores – 290 in North America and 58 in Europe.

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