The 900+ Natural retail supermarkets making up the channel range from independent retailers to larger regional chains that have the majority of their sales generated from natural and organic products. Growth rates have hovered around 15% during the most recent twelve week period (ending 8/4/12 versus the same time period prior year) and are showing no signs of slow down. Organic products in natural supermarkets are showing even higher growth at 17% during this same time period versus prior year as continue to seek confidence and transparency in the products they buy. Other products embodying these ideals are displaying parallel trends, including those bearing Fair Trade USA Certification (+19%), Gluten Free labeling and/or certification (+22%), and Non-GMO Project Verification (+21%).
Though the majority of departments within natural retailers show double-digit growth, the food segment leads with gains of 17% versus prior year."
Hoping to capitalize on the growing trend, microcap stock Urban Barns Foods Inc. (OTCQB: URBF) recently announced the startup strategy to build and operate the first barn situated in the West Island of Montreal, Quebec. Cubic agriculture is a new sustainable agricultural growing practice that can produce commercial volumes in any geographical location and climate.
Urban Barns uses patent pending proprietary equipment to produce affordable vegetables in a secure and controlled indoor environment. By setting up subsidiary facilities and growing locally, Urban Barns can focus on supplying any community, irrespective of the regional climate, effectively reducing shipping times and related spoilage costs. Urban Barns has the unique ability to scale and cater to the demands of all major communities. Our commitment to our consumers is reflected through our motto, "Purely Fresh, Naturally Tasty, and Completely Healthy".
Whole Foods Market, Inc. (NASDAQ: WFM) yesterday reported results for the 13-week fourth quarter ended September 30, 2012. Year-over-year increases stated herein reflect the comparison of 13 weeks in fiscal year 2012 to 12 weeks in fiscal year 2011. Sales increased 24% to $2.9 billion. Comparable sales increased 8.5%, and identical store sales, excluding three relocations and two expansions, increased 8.3%. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization ("EBITDA") increased 36% from the prior year to $252.2 million, net income increased 49% to $112.7 million, and diluted earnings per share increased 44% to $0.60.
"We ended the year with strong sales growth and record fourth quarter results, delivering the best year in our Company's 32-year history," said John Mackey, co-founder and co-chief executive officer of Whole Foods Market. "The pace of new store openings and lease signings continues to increase, and our accelerated growth plans are on track. We expect healthy comparable store sales growth and continuing operating margin improvement in fiscal year 2013."
Annie's (NYSE:BNNY) is a natural and organic food company that offers great-tasting products in large packaged food categories. The Company reported its second quarter results at the end of October, reporting net sales of $46.7 million, an increase of 20.1% over the second quarter of fiscal 2012. Net income attributable to common stockholders in the second quarter of fiscal 2013 was $3.8 million as compared to $0.1 million in the second quarter of the prior year.
For investors that invest with a Warren Buffet strategy of investing in what you know and buy, then the organic food sector gives consumers something interesting to digest.
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