February 20, 2009

Bad Economy? Bah. Whole Foods eats it up.

The S&P just lowered their rating of Whole Foods from ‘stable’ to ‘negative’...just as WFM stock rose 37% in a day (because their last quarter performance was bad, not very bad as the markets had expected). Confused?

This well-written excerpt from ‘No Dust Bowl days for Whole Foods’ by J. Christoph Amberger might sort you out. But don’t count on it:


While Washington spouts gloom, doom, and pork barrel money, upscale grocer Whole Foods (NASDAQ:WFMI) is high on the hog!

by J. Christoph Amberger

Baltimore—TFN: The situation is dire, they say. Catastrophic. We’re at the brink of the abyss. Worse than the Carter years, even.

Heck, if you listen to politicians and analysts, you could convince yourself that you’re indeed worse off now than the late Tom Joad: Revel in the image of yourself in a Model T, Louis Vuitton bags strapped to the roof, overalls chafing sensitive parts of the anatomy—and your iPod stuck on Celine Dion.

The horror, the horror.

(”You want milk with that venti Vanilla Rooibos Tazo Tea Latte, Rose of Sharon?”)

Then again, you might just realize the schizoid nature of this economic downturn. While the government opens the fiscal floodgates, spending unearned money keeping insolvent borrowers in hyper-inflated mortgage debt, upscale grocery stores like WholeFoods are looking at increasing cashflows and expanding business.

To quote a famous American statesman: “Anybody gone into Whole Foods lately and see what they charge for arugula? I mean, they’re charging a lot of money for this stuff.”

Whole Foods (NASDAQ:WFMI) shares are up 38% to $12.70 as I’m writing. Apparently, I do need to start paying more attention to the shopping habits of the tenured college administrators and Beamer-driving private school moms in my neighborhood.

WholeFoods continued organic growth may be splendid news for Nordstrom, Inc. (NYSE:JWN), which is down to $12.14 today—about a third of last year’s valuation. And for Barnes & Noble (NYSE:BKS), now trading below $17.

Apparently, there’s still plenty of disposable money available for arugula…

…for the rest, click here.

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