AUSTIN, Texas — Whole Foods Market Inc. on Wednesday reported that its quarterly profit fell by more than half, as the grocer faces intense competition, with organic foods becoming more widely available.

The company, which has one store in Maine, said it earned $56 million, or 16 cents per share, in its fiscal fourth quarter, compared with $128 million, or 35 cents per share, in the July-September period last year.

The earnings included $80 million in charges for restructuring and asset impairment costs, which analysts sometimes exclude in their predictions. Excluding those items, profit came to 30 cents per share.

The average estimate of 14 analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of 35 cents per share.

The grocery chain’s revenue rose 6 percent to $3.44 billion, which fell short of Street forecasts.

Eight analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $3.48 billion.

Sales in locations open at least a year – a key metric of a retailer’s health – were virtually flat.


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