Whole Foods Posts Whole Earnings (WFMI, OATS)

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Whole Foods Market, Inc. (Nasdaq:WFMI) has posted $0.35 EPS diluted on sales of $1.51 billion.  The organic food grocer saw 14% ending square footage growth and a 7.0% increase in comparable store sales on top of a 9.9% increase in the prior year. The negative impact on comparable store sales growth of Easter shifting from the third quarter last year to the second quarter this year was approximately 76 basis points in the quarter. Identical store sales (excluding four relocated stores and two major expansions) increased 5.8%.

The short version is that consensus estimates are $0.33 EPS on $1.54 Billion in revenues.  The company also said it spent $100 million in share buybacks and still has another $100 million that can be spent for repurchases.  The Company also expanded its existing $100 million revolving credit line to $200 million during the quarter.  Whole Foods plans 18 to 20 new store completions this year.

For fiscal year 2007, on a 52-week to 52-week basis, the Company expects total sales growth of 13% to 17% and comparable store sales growth of 6% to 8%.  For fiscal year 2007, the Company expects operating income before pre- opening and relocation costs as a percentage of sales to be in line with its 5.9% results year to date.  Longer term, the Company’s goal is to reach $12 billion in sales in fiscal year 2010.

Shares are now trading up 9% in after-hours trading, and you can bet there is some short covering.  The Mackey blogging issues mostly came up after the cut-off date here on these results, although that is still being deemed more of a stock and corporate issue rather than a brand issue.  The company has said it  expects to receive a court ruling bythe middle of August regarding its proposed buyout of Wild Oats (NASDAQ:OATS).  John Mackey is also the one giving the quotes in the press release, so it doesn’t look like he’s planning on going away any time soon.  So far this report is being very well received despite the ongoing issues over the last month. 

Jon C. Ogg
July 31, 2007

Jon Ogg can be reached at jonogg@247wallst.com; he does not own securities in the companies he covers.