N. AMERICA: Select Results In Brief (Whole Foods, Supervalu, GNC)

Whole Foods Market, SuperValu, and GNC became the latest major retailers to report disappointing figures for their most recent fiscal quarters.  The result led to the share prices of all three companies falling sharply yesterday.

Whole Foods saw its third-quarter net profit fall by 22% to $120m, even as revenue grew by just 2% to $3.7bn, and like-for-like sales fell by 2.6%.  This was the fourth straight quarter the chain reported a drop in LFL sales.  Whole Foods noted that the number of transactions were down 2.7%.

The chain stressed that the decline in LFL sales is gradually easing up, noting that in the first three weeks of the fiscal fourth quarter, they were down 2.4%.  It also said it is continuing with its store transformation programme to attract new customers.

Meanwhile, Supervalu Inc saw its first-quarter sales decline by 3.9% to $5.2bn, while adjusted net profit was down 18.5%.  Sales at its Wholesale unit fell by 7.6% to $2.28bn, while its Retail sales were down 2.9% to $1.43bn.  The only bright spot was its Save-A-Lot chain, which saw sales increase by 1.7% to $1.43bn.

CEO Mark Gross said that he still sees strong growth opportunity in the wholesale division. He also highlighted several areas for improvement at its supermarkets, such as more promotions, improved e-commerce offer, and greater store differentiation.

Finally, GNC Holdings saw its second-quarter profit fall by 5% to $64m, while revenue was down 2.4% to $673.2m.  Retail sales in US and Canada decline 2% and manufacturing and wholesale sales dropped 10%. Domestic franchise revenue fell 2.1%.