The Associated Press says Whole Foods Market Inc. may be putting more efforts into lowering prices in order to keep sales growth on track.

The Associated Press says Whole Foods Market Inc. may be putting more efforts into lowering prices in order to keep sales growth on track.

An article last month noted that the natural foods chain's most recent quarterly profit increased by one-third as it opened new stores and saw big gains in same-store sales.

But sales fell short of Wall Street forecasts.

Whole Foods often charges higher prices than other grocers, but it may be rethinking those prices-at least on nonperishable items, the AP said.

"We have beautiful stores that are fun to shop at and give high levels of service, and we sell the highest-quality food," said Chief Executive John P. Mackey. "If a customer comes into our store looking for high-priced products, we've got them, they can find them." But, he said, the company is considering how it prices items that can be found in other stores, such as branded organic and natural foods.

Mackey said the company is "selectively" passing along lower costs, adding that, "We are always seeking ways to improve our value image," especially on commodity-type goods.