Whole Foods disappoints Wall Street with Q4 results; opens 12 stores

Austin, Texas – Whole Foods Market disappointed Wall Street analysts with its fourth quarter results despite posting increases in net income, sales and same-store sales. During the fourth quarter of fiscal 2013, Whole Foods posted net income of $121 million, up 7% from $113 million in the same quarter a year earlier.

In addition, Whole Foods reported quarterly sales of $2.98 billion, up roughly 2.5% from $2.91 billion. And same-store sales rose 5.9%. However, same-store sales growth was less than anticipated and the company lowered guidance for sales and same-store sales growth, disappointing Wall Street investors and observers.

For the entire fiscal year 2013, Whole Foods reported net income of $551 million, up 18% from $466 million in the previous fiscal year. Net sales totaled $12.9 billion, up 10% from $11.7 billion, and a 6.9% increase in same-store sales.

In the long term, Whole Foods thinks it has market potential for 1,000 stores in the U.S., and also has potential in Canada and the U.K. The company opened 12 stores in the fourth quarter, resulting in 32 store openings in the fiscal year. In the first quarter of fiscal year 2014, the Whole Foods has opened five stores so far and expects to open five additional stores. The company currently has 367 stores open totaling approximately 13.9 million sq. ft.

Whole Foods recently signed 14 new leases averaging 38,000 sq. ft. in size in Andersonville, Ill.; Chicago; Shreveport, La.; Beverly, Mass.; Portsmouth, N.H.; Clark, N.J.; Newark, N.J.; Dayton, Ohio; Allentown, Pa.; Hilton Head, S.C.; Germantown, Tenn.; The Woodlands, Texas; and Washington, D.C. (two leases). These stores currently are scheduled to open in fiscal year 2014 and beyond.

"We reported record fourth quarter operating results which contributed to the best fiscal year performance in our company's 35-year history,” said John Mackey, co-founder and co-CEO of Whole Foods Market. “For the last four years, we have increased our new store openings while producing improvements in operating margin and higher returns on invested capital, and we expect these trends to continue in fiscal year 2014. We are dedicated to providing our communities with fresh, healthy, natural and organic food, and with 94 leases in our development pipeline, we look forward to delivering accelerating new store growth for several years to come."