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• Whole Foods reported that its third quarter earnings were up 33 percent to $53.9 million, compared to $40.4 million during the same period a year ago. Q3 sales were $1.34 billion, up 18 percent from a year ago, and same-store sales were up 9.9 percent.

Whole Foods CEO John Mackey told analysts that the company is looking to create a greater sense of value for its organic and natural foods, in part through a more aggressive private label program. While private label current accounts for 16 percent of sales, Mackey would like to get that up to as much as 20 percent.

Whole Foods also must deal with Wal-Mart’s natural/organic ambitions; the discounter has said it wants to dramatically expand its SKU count in these areas and make prices more accessible to consumers.

• Ingles Markets reported that its Q3 net income increased 109 percent to $13.8 million, from $6.6 million during the same period a year ago. Sales for the period increased 16.3 percent to $659.2 million compared to a year ago, with same-store sales up 15.2 percent.

• The Lakeland Ledger reports that “Publix Super Markets Inc. stock rose to $18.25 per share, company officials announced today. The new price is up 60 cents, or about 3.4 percent, from $17.65 in July… Publix stock split 5-for-1 on July 1, when it was valued at $88.25 per share.”

Publix’s stock is only sold to company employees and members of the board of directors. The price is determined by independent appraisals.

• Tyson Foods reported a third quarter loss of $52 million, compared with a profit of $131 million generated during the same period a year ago. Third-quarter sales dropped 4.8 percent to $6.38 billion, compared with $6.71 billion a year earlier.

• Metro AG, the Germany-based retailer that just announced its acquisition of Wal-Mart’s stores there, announced second quarter net profit that was the equivalent of $335 million (US), up more than 88 percent compared to a year ago. Q2 sales rose to $17.9 billion.
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