Whole Foods Posts Sales, Profit Gains

Whole Foods Market said its fourth-quarter net income rose about 57%, to $57.5 million, as comparable-store sales grew 8.7%, compared with year-ago levels.

AUSTIN, Texas — Whole Foods Market [3] here on Wednesday said its fourth-quarter net income rose about 57%, to $57.5 million, as comparable-store sales grew 8.7%, compared with year-ago levels.

Total sales for the 12-week quarter, which ended Sept. 26, were about $2.1 billion, up 15%. For the full fiscal year, net income was up 67.5%, to $245.8 million, on sales gains of 12%, to about $9 billion. Comps were up 7.1% for the full fiscal year.

"We are proud to be gaining market share at a faster rate than most public food retailers," said John Mackey, co-chief executive officer and co-founder of Whole Foods, in a prepared statement. "We attribute much of our success to the progress we have made in our relative price positioning and to our initiatives in areas such as healthy eating, animal welfare and sustainable seafood."

The company, which recently opened its 301st location, also raised its outlook for the current fiscal year. Whole Foods now expects sales growth of 10% to 12% and identical-store sales growth of 5% to 7%. Net income per share is expected to grow to between $1.66 and $1.71, or 16% to 20%. Comps in the first few weeks of the first fiscal quarter are up about 8.9%, the retailer said.