The Austin, Texas based natural foods retailer Whole Foods Market reported yesterday (3 May) that its second quarter profits rose by 27%, driven by strong sales and profits from newly opened stores.

Net income for the quarter was US$51.8m, up from $40.7m, or $0.30 per share, for the second quarter of 2004. Sales increased by 21% year-on-year to $1.31 bn.

Same store sales rose by 11.9%, leading the company to raise its previous comparable sales guidance to between 10% and 12%, up from the company’s previous prediction of 8-11%. Overall sales, the company said, are expected to fall in the upper end of the range already given.

“We are very pleased to report our tenth consecutive quarter of double-digit comparable store sales growth,” said John Mackey, chairman, chief executive officer and co-founder of Whole Foods Market. “Based on our performance year to date, including our stronger-than-expected 12.5% comp results and new store sales, we are increasing our 2006 comparable sales growth guidance to 10% to 12% and our sales growth guidance to the upper end of our 18% to 21% range.”