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Whole Foods ends fiscal 2012 on strong note
November 14th, 2012
AUSTIN, Texas – Whole Foods Market reported robust increases in sales and profits for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012, but a cautious earnings forecast for fiscal 2013 disappointed volatile Wall Street investors.
Sales for the final quarter rose 24% to $2.91 billion, reflecting an 8.3% increase in identical-store sales and the benefit of an extra week of business compared with the prior-year quarter.
Net income skyrocketed 49.4% to $112.7 million, or 60 cents per diluted share. Full-year net profit expanded 35.9% to $465.6 million, as sales rose 15.7% to $11.7 billion.
"We ended the year with strong sales growth and record fourth quarter results, delivering the best year in our company’s 32-year history," said cofounder and co-chief executive officer John Mackey in a statement. "The pace of new store openings and lease signings continues to increase, and our accelerated growth plans are on track. We expect healthy comparable-store sales growth and continuing operating margin improvement in fiscal 2013."
Although both sales and earnings for the fourth quarter exceeded analysts’ consensus estimate, and the company boosted its quarterly dividend by 43% to 20 cents per share, a modest earnings outlook for the 2013 fiscal year panicked investors, who drove the natural and organic grocer’s share price down sharply. Management projected earnings per share of $2.83 to $2.87 per share for 2013, below the average forecast of $2.91 per share among analysts surveyed by FactSet.
By late morning on November 14, Whole Foods’ share price had dropped to $89.71 from its closing price of $98 on November 6, the day before results were announced.