Wild Oats Markets Inc. Reports 7 Percent Increase in Third-quarter Sales

BOULDER, Colo. - Wild Oats Markets Inc., a leading national natural and organic foods retailer, today announced financial results for the third quarter and first nine months ended September 29, 2001.

Wild Oats generated sales of $222.2 million in the third quarter, a 7.2 percent increase compared with sales of $207.2 million in the third quarter of 2000. Sales for the first nine months of the year were $671.1 million, up 6.3 percent from $631.2 million in the comparable period last year. These results are primarily due to improved comparable store sales, which increased 5.5 percent in the third quarter, and 3.4 percent in the first nine months of 2001 compared with the same period last year. A focus on operational improvements in previously acquired stores and new marketing programs in select regions fueled the improved comparable store sales in both periods.

"We are pleased that our efforts to improve sales for the company are gaining momentum despite overall weakness in the economy and the negative economic impact of the events of September 11th,'' said Perry D. Odak, President and CEO. "As we continue to implement our increased advertising and modified pricing and merchandising strategies, we expect our comparable stores sales in these regions to continue to show gradual improvement.''

Wild Oats has begun rolling out its new "Fresh Look" marketing and advertising program, which includes newspaper advertising insertions and direct mail, weekly sale items and specials, more competitive pricing in certain markets, and more strategic merchandising efforts.

The company has postponed any further new store openings planned for 2001 while it reviews and redesigns key store components. The sites previously planned for opening in the current year will be rescheduled.

"As demonstrated in the first three quarters of this year, we've experienced momentum in our comparable store sales, and they are showing increasingly greater improvement as the year progresses," said Odak. "As we continue the phased roll out of our 'Fresh Look' program, we expect to generate modest sales growth, but it will be at the expense of the continued short-term negative impact on our bottom line. We expect to begin to see the positive outcome of these strategies in the second half of 2002, and are confident that these sales gains will eventually translate into bottom-line improvement over time."
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