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Whole Foods hurt by Sandy

November 8, 2012: 1:51 PM ET

Whole Foods (WFM) warned shareholders that it will take a one-time charge for losses related to Hurricane Sandy. Investors raced out of the stock, causing it to drop more than 5% Thursday.

The Sandy-related worries forced investors to ignore an otherwise solid quarter in which sales spiked 24%. Sales at stores open for more than one year jumped 8.5%, and profits rose 49%. Whole Foods CEO John Mackey said the retailer's pace of opening new stores continues to increase.

With today as a glaring exception, investors have generally been as giddy about the grocer's stock as many consumers are at its perpetually packed salad bars. The stock is up more than 30% this year.

Some traders on StockTwits were willing to overlook Sandy's short-term effects and focus instead on long-term positive trends for the organic retailer.

retail_guru: Still, hard to argue much has changed in Whole Foods story - if expenses are initial cost of accelerating growth, that's a good thing $WFM

fraggle1023: $WFM have signed 45 new leases this year - will open a record number of new stores this year

As people in the New York area restock their refrigerators, some traders even think Sandy could help boost sales this quarter.

retail_guru: Whole Foods comps over last 2 days up 11% company-wide & 20%(!) in Northeast as consumers re-stock after #Sandy. $WFM

Still the question of just how much people will be willing to fork over for more expensive, organic food worries some traders.

Bullbear123:  $WFM with inflation hitting everywhere, people will slow down on expensive food costs. seeing it all over the place

FZucchi:  $WFM seeing increased $50+ baskets - that means people are now buying 3 bananas instead of 2

We haven't seen $15 bananas at Whole Foods ... yet.

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