Whole Foods Market’s founder and chief executive John Mackey said at a shareholders meeting yesterday (6 March) that the company can double annual sales by 2010.

The natural and organic foods company anticipates yearly sales to reach US$12bn in the next five years, with the opening of 25 to 30 new stores a year beginning in 2007, reported the Associated Press news agency.

According to the reports, the projection by Whole Foods, which brought in $4.7bn last year, is $2bn higher than previous annual projections.

Mackey told the AP: “We bring so much business to any market we are in that we are one of the most desirable tenants, in our top markets – Los Angeles, New York, and Washington, D.C. – we are able to concentrate stores closer and closer together.” He also reportedly said that the company will open a new store in London early next year.