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Whole Foods Market Reports First Quarter Results
Globe Newswire
Company Produces Record Sales of $4.8 Billion and Delivers EPS of $0.46; Raises EPS Outlook for the Fiscal Year

AUSTIN, Texas, Feb. 10, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Whole Foods Market, Inc. (NASDAQ:WFM) today reported results for the 16-week first quarter ended January 17, 2016. For the quarter, total sales increased 3% to a record $4.8 billion. Comparable store sales on a constant currency basis decreased 1.8%. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (“EBITDA”) were $399 million, or 8.3% of sales, diluted earnings per share were $0.46, and adjusted return on invested capital was 14%.

“We delivered record sales of $4.8 billion this quarter and are pleased with the progress we have made on our nine-point plan outlined in November,” said Walter Robb, co-chief executive officer of Whole Foods Market. “We improved our cost structure, stepped up our value efforts, and are excited to announce today the national launch of digital coupons within our mobile app. We believe we will deliver strong returns to shareholders over the long term as we improve our price perception, better communicate our higher quality standards and differentiation, and continue to fundamentally evolve our business.”

During the quarter, the Company produced $232 million in cash flow from operations, invested $179 million in capital expenditures, returned $45 million in quarterly dividends to shareholders, and repurchased $634 million or 21.2 million shares of common stock. On December 3, 2015, the Company completed its previously announced offering of $1.0 billion of 5.2% senior notes due 2025, ending the quarter with $1.1 billion in total debt and $1.4 billion in total available capital. Subsequent to the end of the quarter, the Company repurchased $100 million or 3.5 million shares of common stock.

The following table provides information on the Company’s comparable store sales trends on a one and two-year basis for the first quarter and for the first three weeks of the 12-week second quarter. Sales of a store are deemed comparable commencing in the 57th full week after the store was opened or acquired and are presented on a constant currency basis. Companies define comparable store sales differently; thus, growth rates across companies may not be comparable.

 Comps Two-Year Change in
Transactions
 Two-Year Change in
Basket Size
 Two-Year
Q4 ended September 27, 2015(0.2)% 2.9% (0.8)% 0.5% 0.6% 2.4%
Q1 ended January 17, 2016(1.8)% 2.9% (1.6)% 0.7% (0.2)% 2.2%
            
Q1 - first five weeks ended November 1, 2015(2.1)% 2.7% (1.9)% 0.4% (0.2)% 2.3%
Q1 - last eleven weeks ended January 17, 2016(1.6)% 2.9% (1.4)% 1.0% (0.2)% 1.9%
            
Q2 - first three weeks ended February 7, 2016(2.8)%*2.3%        
*Reflects a net negative impact from weather events in both years.

Gross margin declined 83 basis points to 34.0% of sales due primarily to an increase in cost of goods sold as a percentage of sales. LIFO was $2 million versus $3 million, a positive impact of three basis points year over year.

SG&A improved four basis points to 28.4% of sales. Leverage in salaries and benefits and marketing costs was partially offset by higher depreciation and technology investments as a percentage of sales.

Reflecting the Company’s issuance of $1.0 billion in senior notes, net interest expense was $3 million in the current year versus net investment income of $3 million in the prior year.

The effective tax rate was 37.0% versus 39.0% in the prior year due to a significant environmental tax credit related to the development of a new store.

Comparable store sales growth by age class for the trailing four quarters is provided in the following table.

  Trailing
Four-Quarter Comps
 # of Stores % of Square Footage Average Age
(s.f. weighted)
> 11 years (0.5)% 183 37% 18 years
5 to 11 years (0.6)% 105 34% 8 years
< 5 years 4.9% 116 29% 3 years
All comparable stores 0.5% 404 100% 10 years

Growth and Development
In the first quarter, the Company opened three new stores. In the second quarter, the Company has opened two new stores and expects to open six additional stores.

The Company recently signed six new leases for one Whole Foods Market and five 365 by Whole Foods Market stores. The Whole Foods Market lease is 40,000 square feet and located in San Diego, CA. The 365 leases average 30,000 square feet and are located in Claremont, CA; Concord, CA; Los Alamitos, CA; Gainesville, FL; and Evergreen Park, IL.

The Company sees potential for 1,200 Whole Foods Market stores in the United States, with the new 365 format expanding the growth opportunity beyond 1,200 stores. The following table provides additional information about the Company’s new and acquired stores and development pipeline for Whole Foods Market and 365 stores scheduled to open through fiscal year 2021.

      Current Leases Signed:
New Store Information FY15 FY16 YTD 365WFMTotal
Number of stores (including relocations) 38  5  13 101 114 
Relocations 6  0  0 16 16 
Percentage in new markets 11% 20% 15%22%21%
Total square footage 1,653,000  219,000  380,000 4,479,000 4,859,000 

Fiscal Year 2016 Outlook
The Company remains focused on the metrics it believes are key to the long-term health of its business and is targeting:

  • Sales growth of 3% to 5%
  • Approximately 30 new stores, including three 365 stores and two to three relocations
  • Square footage growth of 7% or greater
  • EBITDA margin of approximately 8.5%
  • Capital expenditures of 5% of sales
  • ROIC greater than 13.5%

The Company’s results are highly dependent on comps, which have been particularly difficult to predict in this competitive landscape. The Company is hopeful that comps will improve over the course of the year as comparisons get easier and sales-building initiatives gain traction; however, there could be some offsetting impact from a ramp up in price investments and promotions throughout the year. The 3% to 5% sales outlook for the year reflects comps of -2% to 0%.

Based on year-to-date results, the Company now expects a decline in operating margin for the fiscal year of up to 70 basis points from the 6.1% reported last year excluding fourth quarter charges. Reflecting increased value efforts as the year progresses, the year-over-year decline in gross margin, excluding LIFO, in Q2 through Q4 is expected to be greater than the 86 basis point decline in Q1. The Company expects year-over-year SG&A leverage to increase sequentially over the next three quarters reflecting the positive impact of cost-saving initiatives net of higher depreciation and other costs. For the remainder of the year, interest expense is expected to be approximately $38 million, and the effective tax rate is expected to be 39.0%.  Excluding $0.02 to $0.05 per diluted share in estimated net accretion related to debt-financed buybacks, the Company expects diluted earnings per share for the fiscal year of $1.53 or greater, implying $1.07 or greater for the remainder of the year.

The Company’s 365 store openings are expected as follows: Silver Lake, CA in late May; Lake Oswego, OR in July; and Bellevue, WA in August.

Seasonality
The Company notes that average weekly sales and gross profit as a percentage of sales are typically highest in the second and third fiscal quarters, and lowest in the fourth fiscal quarter due to seasonally slower sales during the summer months. Gross profit as a percentage of sales also is typically lower in the first fiscal quarter due to the product mix of holiday sales. The Company notes Easter falls in the second quarter in both this year and the prior year.

About Whole Foods Market
Founded in 1978 in Austin, Texas, Whole Foods Market is the leading natural and organic foods supermarket, the first national “Certified Organic” grocer, and uniquely positioned as America’s Healthiest Grocery Store™.  In fiscal year 2015, the Company had sales of approximately $15 billion and currently has 436 stores in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Whole Foods Market employs approximately 85,000 team members and has been ranked for 18 consecutive years as one of the “100 Best Companies to Work For” in America by Fortune magazine. For more information, please visit www.wholefoodsmarket.com.

Disclaimer on Forward-looking Statements
Certain statements in this press release and from time to time in other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, news releases, reports, and other written and oral communications made by us and our representatives, constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements are often identified by words such as “anticipate,” “believe,” “estimate,” “expect,” “continue,” “could,” “can,” “may,” “will,” “likely,” “depend,” “should,” “would,” “plan,” “predict,” “target,” and similar expressions, and include references to assumptions and relate to our future prospects, developments and business strategies. Except for the historical information contained herein, the matters discussed in this press release are forward-looking statements that are based on the Company’s current assumptions and involve risks and uncertainties that may cause our actual results to be materially different from such forward-looking statements and could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition, operating results and cash flows. These forward-looking statements may include comments relating to, among other things, future earnings per share and the Company’s intention to obtain additional debt in the near term and to make planned share repurchases, some of which are subject to risks and uncertainties relating to general business conditions, conditions in the credit and capital markets, changes in overall economic conditions that impact consumer spending, including fuel prices and housing market trends, the impact of competition and other factors which are often beyond the control of the Company, as well other risks listed in the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended September 27, 2015, and other risks and uncertainties not presently known to us or that we currently deem immaterial. We wish to caution you that you should not place undue reliance on such forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date on which they were made. We do not undertake any obligation to update forward-looking statements.

The Company will host a conference call today to discuss this earnings announcement at 4:00 p.m. CT. The dial-in number is (888) 632-3384, and the conference ID is “Whole Foods.” A simultaneous audio webcast will be available at www.wholefoodsmarket.com/company-info/investor-relations.

    
Whole Foods Market, Inc.   
Consolidated Statements of Operations (unaudited)   
(In millions, except per share amounts)   
    
  16 weeks ended
   January 17, 2016  January 18, 2015 
Sales $  4,829 $  4,671 
Cost of goods sold and occupancy costs    3,188    3,045 
Gross profit    1,641    1,626 
Selling, general and administrative expenses    1,373    1,330 
Operating income before pre-opening and store closure    268    296 
Pre-opening expenses    13    21 
Relocation, store closure and lease termination costs    3    4 
Operating income    252    271 
Interest expense    (7)   - 
Investment and other income    4    3 
Income before income taxes    249    274 
Provision for income taxes    92    107 
Net income $  157 $  167 
    
Basic earnings per share $  0.47 $  0.46 
Weighted average shares outstanding    337.0    359.9 
    
Diluted earnings per share $  0.46 $  0.46 
Weighted average shares outstanding, diluted basis    338.2    362.2 
    
Dividends declared per common share $  0.135 $  0.130 
    
    
A reconciliation of the numerators and denominators of the basic and diluted earnings per share calculations follows:   
  16 weeks ended
   January 17, 2016 January 18, 2015
Net income   
(numerator for basic and diluted earnings per share) $  157 $  167 
Weighted average common shares outstanding   
(denominator for basic earnings per share)    337.0    359.9 
Incremental common shares attributable to dilutive effect of share-based awards    1.2    2.3 
Weighted average common shares outstanding and    
potential additional common shares outstanding   
(denominator for diluted earnings per share)    338.2    362.2 
    
Basic earnings per share $  0.47 $  0.46 
Diluted earnings per share $  0.46 $  0.46 


Whole Foods Market, Inc.  
Consolidated Statements of Comprehensive Income (unaudited)  
(In millions)  
   
 16 weeks ended
  January 17, 2016  January 18, 2015 
Net income$  157 $  167 
Other comprehensive loss, net of tax:  
Foreign currency translation adjustments   (10)   (11)
Other comprehensive loss, net of tax   (10)   (11)
Comprehensive income$  147 $  156 


Whole Foods Market, Inc.  
Consolidated Balance Sheets (unaudited)  
(In millions)  
   
   
Assets January 17, 2016  September 27, 2015 
Current assets:  
Cash and cash equivalents$  679 $  237 
Short-term investments - available-for-sale securities   130    155 
Restricted cash   126    127 
Accounts receivable   212    218 
Merchandise inventories   564    500 
Prepaid expenses and other current assets   115    108 
Deferred income taxes   192    199 
Total current assets   2,018    1,544 
Property and equipment, net of accumulated depreciation and amortization   3,201    3,163 
Long-term investments - available-for-sale securities   -    63 
Goodwill   710    710 
Intangible assets, net of accumulated amortization   79    79 
Deferred income taxes   185    144 
Other assets   43    38 
Total assets$  6,236 $  5,741 
   
Liabilities and Shareholders’ Equity  
Current liabilities:  
Current installments of long-term debt and capital lease obligations$  3 $  3 
Accounts payable   278    295 
Accrued payroll, bonus and other benefits due team members   411    436 
Dividends payable   44    45 
Other current liabilities   502    473 
Total current liabilities   1,238    1,252 
Long-term debt and capital lease obligations, less current installments   1,052    62 
Deferred lease liabilities   597    587 
Other long-term liabilities   87    71 
Total liabilities   2,974    1,972 
   
Commitments and contingencies  
   
Shareholders’ equity:  
Common stock, no par value, 1,200 shares authorized;  
377.1 shares issued; 328.0 and 348.9 shares outstanding  
at 2016 and 2015, respectively   2,917    2,904 
Common stock in treasury, at cost, 49.1 and 28.2 shares at 2016 and 2015, respectively   (1,747)   (1,124)
Accumulated other comprehensive loss   (38)   (28)
Retained earnings   2,130    2,017 
Total shareholders’ equity   3,262    3,769 
Total liabilities and shareholders’ equity$  6,236 $  5,741 


Whole Foods Market, Inc.  
Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows (unaudited)  
(In millions)  
   
 16 weeks ended
  January 17, 2016  January 18, 2015 
Cash flows from operating activities  
Net income$  157 $  167 
Adjustments to reconcile net income to net cash provided by operating activities:  
Depreciation and amortization   147    125 
Share-based payment expense   16    19 
LIFO expense   2    3 
Deferred income tax benefit   (30)   (2)
Excess tax benefit related to exercise of team member stock options   (1)   (4)
Accretion of premium/discount on marketable securities   1    6 
Deferred lease liabilities   8    11 
Other   2    3 
Net change in current assets and liabilities:  
Accounts receivable   6    (6)
Merchandise inventories   (67)   (53)
Prepaid expenses and other current assets   (7)   9 
Accounts payable   (16)   5 
Accrued payroll, bonus and other benefits due team members   (25)   17 
Other current liabilities   28    87 
Net change in other long-term liabilities    11    - 
Net cash provided by operating activities   232    387 
Cash flows from investing activities  
Development costs of new locations   (91)   (152)
Other property and equipment expenditures   (88)   (100)
Purchases of available-for-sale securities   (133)   (171)
Sales and maturities of available-for-sale securities   220    199 
Decrease (increase) in restricted cash   1    (21)
Payment for purchase of acquired entities, net of cash acquired   (11)   (4)
Other investing activities   (6)   (2)
Net cash used in investing activities   (108)   (251)
Cash flows from financing activities  
Purchases of treasury stock   (634)   (43)
Common stock dividends paid   (45)   (43)
Issuance of common stock   7    23 
Excess tax benefit related to exercise of team member stock options   1    4 
Proceeds from long-term borrowings   999    - 
Proceeds from revolving line of credit   300    - 
Payments on long-term debt and capital lease obligations   (302)   - 
Other financing activities   (7)   - 
Net cash provided by (used in) financing activities   319    (59)
Effect of exchange rate changes on cash and cash equivalents   (1)   (1)
Net change in cash and cash equivalents   442    76 
Cash and cash equivalents at beginning of period   237    190 
Cash and cash equivalents at end of period$  679 $  266 
   
Supplemental disclosure of cash flow information:  
Federal and state income taxes paid$  137 $  77 


Whole Foods Market, Inc.  
Non-GAAP Financial Measures (unaudited)  
(In millions)  
   
In addition to reporting financial results in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, or GAAP, the Company provides information regarding Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization (“EBITDA”), Adjusted EBITDA and Free Cash Flow in the press release as additional information about its operating results.  These measures are not in accordance with, or an alternative to, GAAP.  The Company’s management believes that these presentations provide useful information to management, analysts and investors regarding certain additional financial and business trends relating to its results of operations and financial condition.  In addition, management uses these measures for reviewing the financial results of the Company as well as a component of incentive compensation.
   
The Company defines Adjusted EBITDA as EBITDA plus non-cash share-based payment expense and deferred rent.  The following is a tabular reconciliation of the non-GAAP financial measure Adjusted EBITDA to GAAP net income, which the Company believes to be the most directly comparable GAAP financial measure.
   
 16 weeks ended
EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDAJanuary 17, 2016January 18, 2015
Net income$  157 $  167 
Provision for income taxes   92    107 
Interest expense   7    - 
Investment and other income   (4)   (3)
Operating income   252    271 
Depreciation and amortization   147    125 
EBITDA   399    396 
Share-based payment expense   16    19 
Deferred rent   12    13 
Adjusted EBITDA$  427 $  428 
   
   
The Company defines Free Cash Flow as net cash provided by operating activities less capital expenditures. The following is a tabular reconciliation of the Free Cash Flow non-GAAP financial measure.
   
 16 weeks ended
Free Cash FlowJanuary 17, 2016January 18, 2015
Net cash provided by operating activities$  232 $  387 
Development costs of new locations   (91)   (152)
Other property and equipment expenditures   (88)   (100)
Free Cash Flow$  53 $  135 


Whole Foods Market, Inc.  
Non-GAAP Financial Measures (unaudited)  
(In millions)  
   
In addition to reporting financial results in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, or GAAP, the Company provides information regarding Return on Invested Capital (“ROIC”) and Adjusted ROIC as additional information about its operating results.  These measures are not in accordance with, or an alternative to, GAAP.  The Company’s management believes this presentation provides useful information to management, analysts and investors regarding certain additional financial and business trends relating to its results of operations and financial condition.  In addition, management uses this measure for reviewing the financial results of the Company as well as a component of incentive compensation.  The Company defines ROIC as ROIC earnings divided by average invested capital.  ROIC earnings and adjustments to ROIC earnings are defined in the following tabular reconciliation.  Invested capital reflects a trailing four-quarter average. 
   
 52 weeks ended
ROICJanuary 17, 2016January 18, 2015
Net income$  525 $  588 
Interest expense, net of tax   4    - 
ROIC earnings   529    588 
Total rent expense, net of tax1   268    251 
Estimated depreciation on capitalized operating leases, net of tax2   (178)   (167)
ROIC earnings, including the effect of capitalized operating leases$  619 $  672 
   
Average working capital, excluding current portion of long-term debt$  529 $  662 
Average property and equipment, net   3,121    2,789 
Average other assets   1,075    1,105 
Average other liabilities   (651)   (590)
Average invested capital   4,074    3,966 
Average estimated asset base of capitalized operating leases3   3,486    3,278 
Average invested capital, including the effect of capitalized operating leases$  7,560 $  7,244 
   
ROIC 13.0% 14.8%
ROIC, including the effect of capitalized of operating leases 8.2% 9.3%
   
   
Adjusted ROIC  
Net income$  525 $  588 
Interest expense, net of tax   4    - 
Adjustments, net of tax4   48    1 
Adjusted ROIC earnings   577    589 
Total rent expense, net of tax1   268    251 
Estimated depreciation on capitalized operating leases, net of tax2   (178)   (167)
Adjusted ROIC earnings, including the effect of capitalized operating leases$  667 $  673 
   
Average working capital, excluding current portion of long-term debt$  529 $  662 
Average property and equipment, net   3,121    2,789 
Average other assets   1,075    1,105 
Average other liabilities   (651)   (590)
Average invested capital   4,074    3,966 
Average estimated asset base of capitalized operating leases3   3,486    3,278 
Average invested capital, including the effect of capitalized operating leases$  7,560 $  7,244 
   
Adjusted ROIC 14.2% 14.9%
Adjusted ROIC, including the effect of capitalized operating leases 8.8% 9.3%
   
1 Total rent includes minimum base rent of all tendered leases  
2 Estimated depreciation equals two-thirds of total rent expense  
3 Estimated asset base equals eight times total rent expense  
4 Adjustments include non-cash asset impairment charges and Q4 2015 restructuring charge  


Investor Relations Contact:
Cindy McCann
VP of Investor Relations
512.542.0204
Media Contact:
Robin Kelly
Robin.Kelly@wholefoods.com
617.417.3895

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