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Whole Foods profit rises 33%; 69 new stores in development

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Austin, Texas — Whole Foods Market Inc. reported Wednesday that profit for the first quarter rose a better-than-expected 33% to $118.3 million amid increased customer visits and higher prices on select items. On a follow-up conference call with analysts, the chain revealed it has 69 new stores in development, or 2.4 million square feet, in development.

The natural and organic grocer generated revenue of $3.39 billion in the quarter ended Jan. 15, almost a 13% increase over the prior year and beating analysts’ expected $3.38 billion in revenue. Same-store sales rose 8.7%.

The grocer has raised its full-year outlook, now projecting a 13.5% to 15% revenue increase, up from its previously projected 13% to 15% gain.

"There are some positive things happening on the economic front which we are hopeful will continue," Whole Foods co-CEO Walter Robb said on a conference call with analysts. "We have tremendous sales momentum as well as the capital and expense disciplines in place to leverage that momentum to the bottom line."

Part of Whole Foods’ expansion strategy in 2012 will be a continuing focus on smaller footprints and building in economical neighborhoods to lower capex investments.

“Compared to last year’s class of new stores, this year’s class was 17% smaller in size, averaging 38,000 sq. ft. and produced average weekly sales per store of $561,000, translating to 29% higher sales per square foot of $776,” Robb said on the call.

Robb said the chain has signed 34 new leases over the last 12 months and is on track to open between 24 and 27 new stores in fiscal 2012 and 28 to 32 new stores in fiscal 2013.

“We currently have 69 stores or 2.4 million sq. ft. in development equal to 20% of our 12 million sq. ft. in operation,” he said.

Whole Foods recently signed eight new leases averaging 33,000 sq. ft. in size in Frisco, Colorado; Miami, Florida; Orland Park, Illinois; South Bend, Indiana; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Jackson, Mississippi; Port Chester, New York; and Cleveland, Ohio. Frisco, South Bend and Jackson are markets for the chain.

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Whole Foods not starving for sales, earnings

BY CSA STAFF

AUSTIN, Texas — While food discounters may be thriving in this down economy, things aren’t so bad at the other end of the spectrum. Whole Foods Market reported that sales for its first quarter ended Jan. 15 increased 13% to $3.4 billion, and comparable-store sales increased 8.7%. Identical-store sales, excluding six relocations and two expansions, increased 8.2%, or 17.3% on a two-year stacked basis.The company also posted a whopping 33% increase in net income to $118.3 million. Diluted earnings per share increased 28% to 65 cents. 

"We continue to execute at a high level, delivering a great shopping experience for our customers while delivering great returns to our shareholders," said Walter Robb, co-CEO of Whole Foods Market. "This quarter we produced a 28% increase in earnings on a 13% increase in sales. We are pleased with our sales momentum and are confident we will continue to leverage our sales to the bottom line as reflected in our increased operating margin and earnings outlook for the year."

Whole Foods opened six stores in the first quarter and expects to open three stores in the second quarter. The company currently has 317 stores totaling approximately 12.1 million sq. ft.

For fiscal 2012, Whole Foods expects sales to increase between 13.5% and 15%, and comparable-store sales to increase between 7.3% and 8.8%. Identical-store sales are expected to increase between 7% and 8.5%.

For the full year, the company is expecting earnings per diluted share $2.28 to $2.32.

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Profits drive up O’Reilly in Q4

BY CSA STAFF

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — O’Reilly Automotive delivered strong profits for it fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, but its same-store sales were not as impressive. The company reported that net income for the quarterincreased $17 million, or 16%, to $123 million from $106 million for the same period one year ago. Diluted earnings per common share for the fourth quarter increased 27% to 94 cents versus 74 cents for the same period one year ago. While the company did report a comps increase of 3.3% for the quarter, in the prior year, same-store sales jumped 9.2%. Totalsales for the fourth quarterincreased $81 million, or 6%, to $1.39 billion from $1.31 billion for the same period one year ago.

"We are pleased to report another quarter of solid financial results," stated Greg Henslee, CEO and co-president of the company. "As a result of our continued efforts to profitably grow sales, along with our culture of strict expense control, we generated a fourth-quarter increase in comparable-store sales of 3.3% while also increasing our adjusted operating margin to 14.7%, a 214 basis-point improvement over the fourth quarter last year."

For the fiscal year, the company reported that sales increased $391 million, or 7%, to $5.79 billion from $5.40 billion for the same period one year ago. Net income for the year increased $88 million from $419 million for the same period one year ago. Diluted earnings per common share for the year increased 26% to $3.71 versus $2.95 for the same period one year ago. Comparable-store sales increased 4.6% for the year ended Dec. 31, versus 8.8% for the same period one year ago.

O’Reilly marked fiscal 2011 with an expansion into its 39th state, the opening of 170 net, new stores and increasing its store count to 3,740. According to Ted Wise, COO and co-president, the company plans to open 180 new stores in fiscal 2012.

For the first quarter and full-year 2012, the company expects comparable-store sale to increase between 4% and 6% and 3% to 6%, respectively. For the first quarter, earnings per share are expected to be between 99 cents and $1.03, while earnings per share are expected to be between $4.27 and $4.37.

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