Whole Foods announced on Wednesday that comparable sales, a gauge that strips out the effects of new stores, fell 0.2% in the quarter ended September 27.
It was the first time that the grocery chain had reported those type of sales declines since 2009. It was also the third quarterly drop at Whole Foods since 2000.
Whole Foods’ shares were down 6% after hours on Wednesday.
Whole Foods said comparable sales were down 2.1% so far this quarter.
A recent note from Wolfe Research said that Whole Foods “is under assault from the better supermarkets, small organic and value-oriented retailers, as well as Costco.”
While Kroger announced massive increases in the sale of organic products, Whole Foods has continued to struggle in a space it helped pioneer.
The company was also hurt by Walmart’s grocery push and Amazon.com’s growing Fresh grocery delivery program.
The company is having a hard time competing on price, a struggle that will only get worse when Target unveils its newest grocery offering.
Whole Foods was already struggling after a New York consumer affairs agency exposed the company for overpricing some products.
The company is hoping to right its ship with a chain of lower-priced stores called “365.”
Here’s a good snapshot of the company’s recent troubles:
Nearly three quarters of Whole Foods stores are older than five years and they are posting a continual slew of lowered earnings.