Learnings from Whole Foods' earnings call

Over the course of a 57-minute conference call late Wednesday, officials of Whole Foods Markets addressed a board of directors overhaul and outlined an ambitious new plan to reawaken sales and earnings that, if successful, would flip the natural/organic grocer back to comp-store sales growth while improving EBITDA margins and operating cash flow by 2020.

The announcements came a month to the day after the activist investment fund Jana Partners revealed it had acquired a significant ownership stake in Whole Foods and would use its position to advocate for a range of changes at the company, including a slate of proposed board candidates — none of whom wound up picked for Whole Foods’ reconfigured board.

CEO John Mackey and other senior executives also addressed accelerated category management and buying changes that would support lower prices, and provided an update on the health and building plans for new stores including its nascent 365 by Whole Foods concept.

The following are highlights from the call, which was originally reported via social media. 

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