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Tucker Anthony Keeps Market Perform on Wild Oats

Wild Oats (OATS) posted a $0.10 3Q loss per share (pro forma). Tucker Anthony maintains its market perform rating on the shares.

Analyst Carole Buyers says the 3Q loss was wider than her $0.06 loss estimate and the consensus $0.04 loss forecast. She notes that comparable-store sales of 5.5% beat estimates, but due to easier comparisons, 2-year average comparisons improved only modestly to 1.25% vs. 0.95% in 2Q. She says margins were lower than expected, impacted by pricing cuts, ad costs, and other costs tied to implementing the "Fresh Look" program. Buyers says the company is not out of the woods yet. She sees a $0.29 2001 loss.

Unless the stock drops to $5-$6 range, the analyst suggests investors await evidence that Wild Oats can approach previous levels of profitabilty.

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