AUSTIN, Texas — Whole Foods Market Inc. raised its full-year earnings guidance after reporting strong results for its first fiscal quarter.
Whole Foods Market Inc. raised its full-year earnings guidance after reporting strong results for its first fiscal quarter.
"Identical-store sales increased 9.1%, our highest result in four years," said co-chief executive officer Walter Robb in a conference call.
That marks the company’s fifth straight quarter of same-store sales gains, suggesting that its customers are boosting their spending. Sales for the quarter increased 14% to $3 billion.
On the strength of that performance Whole Foods now expects full-year earnings of between $1.76 and $1.80 per share, up from the previous outlook of $1.66 to $1.71 per share.
Whole Foods opened three new stores during the quarter and has signed leases for six additional outlets, including one in Ottawa, Canada.
"We are very excited about our growth opportunities in Canada, where we currently have six stores and another three in development," Robb said. "Over the next 10 years we believe our business in Canada has the potential to grow and expand to over $1 billion in sales."
Whole Foods will likely accelerate growth on other fronts too.
"From a financial perspective we are well positioned to reaccelerate our new store growth," Robb said. "Our new stores are performing well. Our strong top- and bottom-line performance, along with our capital expense discipline, has resulted in consistent cash flow, lower debt and a very healthy balance sheet. We have signed 23 new leases over the last 12 months and expect to open a greater number of new stores beginning in 2012."