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The Ratings Game: Whole Foods tackles its price perception problem, but traffic troubles persist

Analysts saw reasons to remain positive about Whole Foods Market Inc. stock after the company announced third-quarter results after-hours on Wednesday, but price continues to be the company’s biggest hurdle. Whole Foods shares fell more than 9% at one point in Thursday trading after traffic declines, value initiatives and health care costs took a toll on third-quarter earnings.

The grocer WFM, -9.01% , known for its natural and organic merchandise, reported a 2.6% same-store sales decline,which was worse than the FactSet consensus for a 2.3% drop. Sales for the quarter totaled $3.70 billion, a record, according to the company, but below the $3.72 billion forecast by FactSet.

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