Whole Foods co-founder John Mackey to become sole CEO

Other co-CEO Walter Robb will remain on Whole Foods' board and as a senior advisor

Whole Foods, which has been run by two CEOs for six years, said Wednesday that it is dropping one of them as it also reports that a key sales measure fell for the fifth straight quarter.

Co-founder John Mackey (pictured) will become the sole CEO at the end of the year. The other co-CEO, Walter Robb, will remain on Whole Foods' board and be a senior adviser to the company.

The natural foods grocer said sales fell 2.6 per cent at established stores in the fiscal fourth quarter, worse than the 2 per cent drop analysts expected, according to FactSet.

Whole Foods has been hurt by increasing competition from supermarkets and even big-box retailers that have been selling organic foods and products. This year, it opened its first lower-priced 365 by Whole Foods Market store.

Shares of Austin, Texas-based Whole Foods Market Inc. rose more than 4 per cent to $29.75 after the market closed Wednesday.

The company also reported net income of $88 million, or 28 cents per share, in the quarter, betting the 24 cents per share analysts expected, according to Zacks Investment Research.

It posted revenue of revenue of $3.5 billion in the period, which did not meet Street forecasts of $3.51 billion, according to Zacks.

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