Austin, TX—On February 9, shares of Whole Foods Market stock were priced at the highest they’ve been in the past 52 weeks: $82.02. This number is far outside its 52-week range of $53.32–78.31. This marks a $4.09 (5.25%) increase on the day, according to Wall St. Watchdog.

This news comes on the heels of a positive financial report for the first quarter of 2012 (ending January 15). The grocery chain stated sales increased 13% to 3.4 billion during that time period and opened six new stores. “We continue to execute at a high level, delivering a great shopping experience for our customers while delivering great returns to our shareholders,” said Walter Robb, co-chief executive officer of Whole Foods Market. “This quarter we produced a 28% increase in earnings on a 13% increase in sales. We are pleased with our sales momentum and are confident we will continue to leverage our sales to the bottom line as reflected in our increased operating margin and earnings outlook for the year.”

As of press time (February 17), stock prices were still high at $81.02.

Published in WholeFoods Magazine April 2012, online 2/21/11