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Whole profits at Whole Foods in Q3

AUSTIN — While the White House may be working with several retailers to combat so-called food deserts, those who can afford to spend more on their grocery bill are doing just that, helping to drive up profits at Whole Foods.

The company reported that its third-quarter profit rose 35% to $88.5 million, compared with $65.7 million in the year-earlier period.

Revenue rose 11% to $2.4 billion, meeting Wall Street expectations, and same-store sales rose 8.4%.

With its strong showing, particularly as its traditional grocer peers struggle with shrinking margins and curbed spending, Whole Foods raised its full-year forecast and said it would add stores in 2011. On the heels of seven store openings in the third quarter, including three relocations, and two openings so far in the fourth quarter, the grocer said it expects to add three additional new stores in the fourth quarter and is on track to open another eight in 2012.

"We are continuing to gain market share at a faster rate than most public food retailers as reflected in our 8.5% comparable store sales growth year to date,” said Walter Robb, co-CEO of the company. "We see a new era of possibility for Whole Foods Market as customers increasingly embrace healthier lifestyles, and we look forward to accelerating our growth in the coming years."