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By Carolyn Austin

Whole Foods (Nasdaq: WFMI) surprised to the upside yesterday, reporting $0.39 earnings per share and beating analysts expectations of about $0.34 per share. Second-quarter profit more than doubled over the same quarter a year ago.

Sales increased almost 15 percent over the same period a year ago, with same store sales up 8.6 percent. The company also improved operating margins to 5.7 percent.

John Mackey, CEO and cofounder, stated:

Our second quarter results are the best we have reported in several years, with extremely strong growth in comparable store sales, earnings and cash flow. We have successfully emerged from this recession with a healthier balance sheet and better capital disciplines. Our new stores are performing very well, and we look forward to rebuilding our store development pipeline and re-accelerating our square footage growth in the future.

The stock gapped up over $2 in after-hours trading.

Comments: The company’s strategy looks like it is executing well. The company has opened four new stores with more in the works. WFMI has also been able to generate new cash for expansion as well as retire debt. It looks like the company has successfully turned around its fortunes and is on a solid path to growth. A good entry point would be in the $35 to $36 per share range, but it looks like the WFMI train has already left the station.

Disclosure: No positions

Source: Whole Foods Reports Mouth-Watering Earnings