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Whole Foods' same-stores sales fall in fourth quarter

Whole Foods Market Inc on Wednesday said same-store sales contracted in the fiscal fourth quarter, hurt by competition among its own stores and mainstream retailers as well as negative publicity surrounding a New York City overcharging scandal.

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Whole Foods Market Inc on Wednesday said same-store sales contracted in the fiscal fourth quarter, hurt by competition among its own stores and mainstream retailers as well as negative publicity surrounding a New York City overcharging scandal. The Austin, Texas-based chain's same-store sales, a closely watched performance gauge for retailers, fell 0.2 percent for the fourth quarter that ended Sept. 27, less than the 0.7 percent gain expected by analysts polled by Consensus Metrix.

Those sales were up 1.3 percent for the third quarter, 3.6 percent in the second quarter and 4.5 percent in the first quarter.

The deceleration has troubled investors in Whole Foods, which is fighting to keep a grip on the natural and organic grocery category it pioneered and long dominated.

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