Wild Oats Stock Falls After Announcement of Earnings Decline

BOULDER, Colo. - Wild Oats Markets, Inc. stock fell yesterday after the chain said earnings fell 68 percent, according to an AP report. The natural food retailer attributed the drop to supply chain changes, which offset a 14 percent rise in sales in the latest quarter.
Shares of Wild Oats closed at $13.26, down $1.14, or 7.9 percent, on the Nasdaq.

The retailer earned $829,000, or three cents a share, on revenue of $254 million, compared with $2.6 million, or 9 cents a share, on revenue of $222 million last year.

Results for the latest quarter included two cents a share of restructuring and asset impairment charges. Analysts expected earnings of seven cents a share, according to Thomson First Call.

Sales at stores open more than one year rose 9.9 percent in the latest quarter.

The company said its top line was boosted by the workers' strike at conventional grocery stores in Southern California. Excluding the effects of the strike, same-store sales were up 2.2 percent.
Wild Oats said the fourth-quarter earnings dropoff was largely a result of supply chain issues. The company is consolidating facilities in Southern California.

The company, which operates Wild Oats, Alfalfa's, Oasis, Nature's Northwest, Henry's, and Capers Markets, plans to open 15 stores this year to add to the 102 in the United States and Canada.
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