United States
Whole Foods Market, which is set to open its first UK store in London next year, has reported a 33% increase in third-quarter net profit to $53.9m on sales up 18% to $1.3bn. Like-for-like sales increased 9.6%. John Mackey, chairman, chief executive and co-founder of Whole Foods Market, said: "We continue to expect like-for-like store sales growth of 10-12% for the full-year, which will mark our third year of double-digit sales growth." Analysts added that the growth potential for the company was strong.

Retailer Metro Group has reported its most successful quarter in six years thanks to the World Cup. In second-quarter results, the group said that pre-tax profit increased 23.8% to E322m on group sales up 7.9% to E14bn. Sales in Germany rose 2%. Hans-Joachim Körber, CEO of Metro Group, said: "Metro Group is favourably positioned. Taking into account the business development, so far we are convinced that we will succeed in continuing on our successful growth route."

Retailer Coles Myer has changed its name to Coles Group as part of a business restructuring. The group said that the new name was part of its decision to drive sales and profit by simplifying its business to invest in stores and customers' shopping experience. It added that the company would be simplified into three businesses - Target, Officeworks and a new integrated everyday needs business selling food, drink, fuel and general merchandise.

United States
Fresh Del Monte Produce has recorded a half-year net loss to 30 June of $1.6m on flat sales of $1.75bn. The group said that it had been hit by increased production and transportation costs. Mohammad Abu-Ghazaleh, chairman and chief executive officer of Fresh Del Monte Produce, added: "We are operating in what is the most difficult environment of the past ten years. There are a number of difficulties we believe will continue to affect our industry during the remainder of 2006 including fuel, transportation and raw material costs."

Danone has recorded like-for-like sales growth of 8.9% in second-quarter results. The group also reported group sales up 9% to E7.217bn on net profit up from E346m last year to E704m. It added that it now expected full-year like-for-like sales growth of 7-8%, up from initial forecasts of 5-7%. "We are confident in the group's ability to continue to grow at a similar rate in 2006," said Franck Riboud, chairman and CEO.

Wal-Mart employees have set up their first trade union in China. The 25 employees, from Wal-Mart's Quanzhou store in the south eastern province of Fujian, established the union as part of a branch of the state-controlled All-China Federation of Trade Unions. The ACFTU said that one of its main tasks this year was to encourage companies in the country to set up unions.