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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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Maureen Farrell
Maureen Farrell
Staff writer, CNNMoney

Maureen Farrell is a staff writer at CNNMoney and covers Wall Street, banking, mergers and the stock and bond markets. Prior to joining CNNMoney, she covered venture capital and entrepreneurs for Forbes, and mergers and bankruptcy for Mergermarket and Debtwire, both divisions of the Financial Times.

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