Whole Foods Market Reports First Quarter Results

Whole Foods Market Reports First Quarter Results

Comparable Store Sales Increase 7.2%; Company Produces 6.1% Operating Margin,
a 20% Increase in Earnings Per Share to $0.78, and Reiterates EPS Guidance for
Fiscal Year 2013

AUSTIN, Texas, Feb. 13, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Whole Foods Market, Inc.
(Nasdaq:WFM) today reported results for the 16-week first quarter ended
January 20, 2013. Sales increased 14% to $3.9 billion. Comparable store sales
increased 7.2%, and identical store sales, excluding one relocation and three
expansions, increased 7.1%. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and
amortization ("EBITDA") increased 19% from the prior year to $337 million, net
income increased 24% to $146 million, and diluted earnings per share increased
20% to $0.78. These results include an impact of approximately $3 million from
product losses and other costs related to Hurricane Sandy. The impact on sales
was not material as customers stocked up before the storm and replenished
afterwards.

"We opened a record number of stores and delivered another quarter of strong
sales and earnings growth," said Walter Robb, co-chief executive officer of
Whole Foods Market. "We are well-positioned to internally fund our expansion
plans and have the pipeline and infrastructure in place for square footage
growth to accelerate through 2014 and hopefully beyond."

The following table shows the Company's sales results for the last five
quarters and for the first three weeks of the second quarter through February
10, 2013. Comparable and identical sales growth is adjusted to exclude the
impact of the Easter shift in Q2 and Q3 of fiscal year 2012, and sales growth
in the fourth quarter is presented on a 12-week to 12-week basis.

                      1Q12      2Q12*    3Q12*    4Q12     1Q13     QTD
                                                                     2Q13**
Sales growth           12.9%     13.6%    13.6%    14.1%    13.7%    12.5%
                                                               
Comparable store sales 8.7%      8.9%     8.9%     8.5%     7.2%     6.4%
growth
Two-year comps         17.7%     17.3%    16.6%    17.3%    15.9%    15.9%
                                                               
Identical store sales  8.2%      8.5%     8.6%     8.3%     7.1%     6.1%
growth
Two-year idents        17.3%     16.8%    16.1%    16.7%    15.3%    15.1%
Sequential basis point 24        (53)     (68)     64       (143)    
change
Three-year idents      19.8%     24.5%    24.5%    25.4%    24.3%    23.8%
Sequential basis point 502       467      5        90       (103)    
change
                                                               
*Comparable and identical store sales growth excludes a positive 55 basis
point impact in 2Q12 and a negative 62 basis point impact in 3Q12 from the
Easter shift, calculated by excluding Easter week from both fiscal years 2011
and 2012.
**Comparable and identical store sales growth reflects a negative impact from
Storm Nemo and holiday shifts.

For the quarter, gross profit increased 22 basis points to 35.0% of sales
driven by improvements in both cost of goods sold and occupancy costs as a
percentage of sales.There was no LIFO charge in the current or prior
year.Direct store expenses improved 30 basis points to 25.4% of sales due
primarily to leverage in wages, healthcare costs and depreciation as a
percentage of sales. As a result, store contribution improved 52 basis points
to 9.6% of sales.

For stores in the identical store base, gross profit improved 31 basis points
to 35.0% of sales, direct store expenses improved 65 basis points to 25.0% of
sales, and store contribution improved 96 basis points to 10.0% of sales.

During the quarter, the Company produced $303 million in cash flow from
operations and invested $155 million in capital expenditures, of which $96
million related to new stores.This resulted in free cash flow of $148
million.In addition, the Company paid $397 million in quarterly and special
dividends to shareholders, and repurchased $26 million of its common stock.

Additional information on the quarter for comparable stores and all stores is
provided in the following table.

Comparable Stores                   Comps ROIC # of   Average Size Total
                                               Stores              Square Feet
Over 15 years old (19 years old,    5.7%  143% 76     27,800       2,115,500
s.f. weighted)
Between 11 and 15 years old         7.3%  79%  70     32,200       2,250,700
Between eight and 11 years old      5.3%  89%  45     37,300       1,680,000
Between five and eight years old    6.8%  43%  55     52,400       2,879,800
Between two and five years old      9.2%  23%  48     48,500       2,326,500
Less than two years old (including  13.4% 14%  23     37,300       858,600
one relocation)
                                                              
All comparable stores (9.4 years    7.2%  54%  317    38,200       12,111,100
old, s.f. weighted)
All stores (8.8 years old, s.f.          46%  344    38,000       13,078,300
weighted)

The following table shows the Company's results for the fiscal year for
certain line items compared to its historical five-year ranges and
averages.Results for fiscal years 2008 and 2012 are presented on a 52-to-52
week basis.

                                            FY08-FY12 Results        
                                            Low      High     Average 1Q13
Sales growth                                 1.0%     23.6%    12.5%   13.7%
Comparable store sales growth                -3.1%    8.7%     5.2%    7.2%
Identical store sales growth                 -4.3%    8.4%     4.5%    7.1%
Ending square footage growth                 5.3%     7.6%     6.5%    8.5%
Percent of sales from new & relocated stores 4.2%     8.8%     6.2%    5.4%
                                                                   
Gross profit                                 34.0%    35.5%    34.8%   35.0%
Direct store expenses                        25.5%    26.7%    26.2%   25.4%
Store contribution                           7.5%     10.0%    8.6%    9.6%
G&A expenses                                 3.0%     3.4%     3.1%    3.0%

Growth and Development

The Company opened ten stores in the first quarter and has opened one store so
far in the second quarter.The Company expects to open five additional stores
in the second quarter.The Company currently has 345 stores totaling
approximately 13.1 million square feet.

The Company recently signed 11 new leases averaging 38,800 square feet in size
in Toronto, Canada; Berkeley, CA; Los Angeles, CA; West Palm Beach, FL;
Lafayette, LA; New Orleans, LA; Westford, MA; St. Louis, MO; Cherry Hill, NJ;
Colleyville, TX; and Newport News, VA. These stores currently are scheduled
to open in fiscal year 2014 and beyond.The Company also terminated one lease
for a 57,500 square foot store in development.

In addition, the Company closed its purchase of six locations from Johnnie's
Foodmaster on November 30, 2012, expanding its presence in the Greater Boston
area to 26 stores.The six leases include Arlington, Brookline, Charlestown,
Melrose, Somerville and South Weymouth and average 30,800 square feet in
size.These locations were closed by Johnnie's Foodmaster prior to the
transaction closing date.The Company is currently remodeling these stores and
plans to reopen them as Whole Foods Market stores in fiscal year 2013.

The following table provides additional information about the Company's store
openings in fiscal years 2012 and 2013 year to date; leases currently tendered
but unopened; and total development pipeline (including leases currently
tendered) for stores scheduled to open through fiscal year 2017.

                                          Stores   Stores   Current  Current
New Store Information                     Opened   Opened   Leases   Leases
                                          FY12     FY13 YTD Tendered Signed
Number of stores (including relocations)  25       11       19       85
Number of relocations                     1        1        4        9
Number of lease acquisitions, ground      0        0        8        9
leases, & owned properties
New markets                               8        5        4        18
Average store size (gross square feet)    35,500   35,300   35,200   36,700
Total square footage                      887,400  387,700  668,300  3,125,700
Average tender period in months           7.9      6.3              
Average pre-opening expense per store     $1.7 mil                 
(incl. rent)
Average pre-opening rent per store        $0.6 mil                 

Outlook for Fiscal Year 2013

The following table provides information on the Company's updated outlook for
fiscal year 2013, a 52-week year, as compared to fiscal year 2012, a 53-week
year. Based on its year-to-date results, the Company is narrowing its
comparable and identical store sales growth ranges for the fiscal year,
keeping the midpoints approximately in line with its prior outlook, while
maintaining EPS of $2.83 to $2.87. On a 52-week to 52-week basis, the Company
continues to expect sales growth of 12% to 14% and diluted earnings per share
growth of 14% to 16%.

As reflected in its outlook, the Company does not expect to produce the same
level of EPS growth over the remainder of the year as it produced in the first
quarter due primarily to tougher gross margin comparisons, particularly in the
second and third quarters of last year, along with its ongoing strategy to
expand value offerings across the store to improve its competitive price
positioning. As such, the Company does not expect an improvement in gross
margin this year, and given first quarter results, this implies lower
year-over-year gross margin for the remainder of the year.

In addition, the Company expects a significant year-over-over increase in
pre-opening and relocation expense in the fourth quarter based on the opening
of 10 to 12 new stores along with a high number of openings in the first
quarter of 2014.

                            FY13         FY13          Q1       Q2-Q4
                           Prior Outlook Current       Actual   Implied
                                          Outlook                Outlook
Sales growth                10% - 12%*    10% - 11%*    14%      9% - 10%*
Comparable store sales      6.5% - 8.5%   6.6% - 8.0%   7.2%     6.3% - 8.3%
growth
Two-year comps              15.2% - 17.2% 15.3% - 16.7% 15.9%    15.0% - 17.0%
Identical store sales       6.0% - 8.0%   6.3% - 7.7%   7.1%     6.0% - 8.0%
growth
Two-year idents             14.4% - 16.4% 14.7% - 16.1% 15.3%    14.4% - 16.4%
Three-year idents           22.7% - 24.7% 23.0% - 24.1% 24.3%    22.5% - 24.5%
                                                             
Number of new stores        32 - 34       32 - 34       10       22 - 24
% of sales from new stores  6% - 7%       6%            5%       6%
Ending square footage       8%            8%            8%       8%
growth
                                                             
G&A expenses                3.1%          3.1%          3.0%     3.2%
Pre-opening and relocation  $68 - $73 mil $68 - $73 mil $18 mil  $50 - $55 mil
costs
Operating margin            6.6% - 6.7%   6.6% - 6.7%   6.1%     6.9% - 7.0%
EBITDA                      $1.18 - $1.20 $1.18 - $1.20 $337 mil $845 - $865
                            bil           bil                    mil
                                                             
Tax rate                    38.6% - 39.0% 38.6% - 39.0% 38.6%    38.6% - 39.0%
Diluted shares outstanding  188 mil       188 mil       187 mil  188 mil
                                                             
Diluted EPS                 $2.83 - $2.87 $2.83 - $2.87 $0.78    $2.05 - $2.09
YOY % change                12% - 14%*    12% - 14%*    20%      10% - 12%*
                                                             
Capital expenditures        $565 - $615   $565 - $615   $155 mil $410 - $460
                            mil           mil                    mil
                                                             
*On a 52-week to 52-week                                      
basis:
Sales growth                12% - 14%     12% - 14%     14%      12% - 14%
Diluted EPS growth          14% - 16%     14% - 16%     20%      13% - 15%

The following table provides information about the Company's estimated store
openings through fiscal year 2014.

                                               Average Square   Ending Square
               Estimated Openings Relocations Feet             Footage Growth
                                               per Store
Fiscal year     32 - 34            5           34,000           8%
2013
Fiscal year     33 - 38            2 - 3       38,000           8% - 9%
2014

Over the long term, the Company considers 1,000 stores to be a reasonable
indication of its market opportunity in the United States as the Whole Foods
Market brand continues to strengthen, consumer demand for natural and organic
products continues to increase, and the Company's flexibility on new store
size opens up additional market opportunities.The Company believes Canada and
the United Kingdom hold great promise as well.

About Whole Foods Market

Founded in 1980 in Austin, Texas, Whole Foods Market
(www.wholefoodsmarket.com) is the leading retailer of natural and organic
foods and America's first national "Certified Organic" grocer.In fiscal year
2012, the Company had sales of approximately $12 billion and currently has 345
stores in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.Whole Foods
Market employs approximately 73,000 team members and has been ranked for 16
consecutive years as one of the "100 Best Companies to Work For" in America by
Fortune magazine.

The Whole Foods Market, Inc. logo is available at
http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=6063

Forward-looking statements

The following constitutes a "Safe Harbor" statement under the Private
Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Except for the historical
information contained herein, the matters discussed in this press release are
forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties, which could
cause our actual results to differ materially from those described in the
forward-looking statements. These risks include general business conditions,
changes in overall economic conditions that impact consumer spending,
including fuel prices and housing market trends, the impact of competition and
other risks detailed from time to time in the SEC reports of Whole Foods
Market, including Whole Foods Market's report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year
ended September 30, 2012. Whole Foods Market undertakes no 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 (866) 952-1906, and the
conference ID is "Whole Foods." A simultaneous audio webcast will be
available at www.wholefoodsmarket.com.

Whole Foods Market, Inc.                                                    
Consolidated Statements of Operations (unaudited)                           
(In millions, except per share amounts)                                     
                                                        
                                        16 weeks ended
                                        January 20, 2013 January 15, 2012
Sales                                    $3,856         $3,391
Cost of goods sold and occupancy costs   2,508           2,213
Gross profit                             1,348            1,178
Direct store expenses                    979             871
Store contribution                       369             307
General and administrative expenses      116             104
Operating income before pre-opening and  253             203
store closure
Pre-opening expenses                     14              10
Relocation, store closure and lease      4               3
termination costs
Operating income                         235             190
Investment and other income, net of      3               2
interest expense
Income before income taxes               238             192
Provision for income taxes               92              74
Net income                               $146           $118
                                                        
Basic earnings per share                 $0.79          $0.66
Weighted average shares outstanding      185.4           179.5
                                                        
Diluted earnings per share               $0.78          $0.65
Weighted average shares outstanding,     187.1           181.5
diluted basis
                                                        
Dividends declared per common share      $2.20          $0.14
                                                        
A reconciliation of the numerators and
denominators of the basic and diluted                    
earnings per share calculations follows:
                                        16 weeks ended
                                        January 20, 2013 January 15, 2012
Net income                                               
(numerator for basic and diluted         $146           $118
earnings per share)
Weighted average common shares                           
outstanding
(denominator for basic earnings per      185.4           179.5
share)
Potential common shares outstanding:                     
Incremental shares from assumed exercise 1.7             2.0
of stock options
Weighted average common shares
outstanding and potential additional                     
common shares outstanding
(denominator for diluted earnings per    187.1           181.5
share)
                                                        
Basic earnings per share                 $0.79          $0.66
Diluted earnings per share               $0.78          $0.65

                                                             
Whole Foods Market, Inc.                                      
Consolidated Statements of Comprehensive Income (unaudited)
(In millions)                                                
                                                            
                                            16 weeks ended
                                            January 20, 2013 January 15, 2012
Net income                                   $146           $118
Other comprehensive income (loss), net of tax:
Foreign currency translation adjustments     (2)              1
Other comprehensive income (loss), net of    (2)             1
tax
Comprehensive income                         $144           $119

                                                           
Whole Foods Market, Inc.                                                    
Consolidated Balance Sheets (unaudited)                                     
(In millions)                                                               
                                                           
Assets                                      January 20, 2013 September 30,
                                                             2012
Current assets:                                             
Cash and cash equivalents                   $152           $89
Short-term investments - available-for-sale 774             1,131
securities
Restricted cash                             112             103
Accounts receivable                         178             197
Merchandise inventories                     401             374
Prepaid expenses and other current assets   101             77
Deferred income taxes                       134             132
Total current assets                        1,852           2,103
Property and equipment, net of accumulated  2,228           2,193
depreciation and amortization
Long-term investments - available-for-sale  204             221
securities
Goodwill                                    679             663
Intangible assets, net of accumulated       67              62
amortization
Deferred income taxes                       35              43
Other assets                                14              9
Total assets                                $5,079         $5,294
                                                           
Liabilities and Shareholders' Equity                                        
Current liabilities:                                        
Current installments of capital lease       $1             $1
obligations
Accounts payable                            244             247
Accrued payroll, bonus and other benefits   336             307
due team members
Dividends payable                           37              26
Other current liabilities                   384             396
Total current liabilities                   1,002           977
Long-term capital lease obligations, less   24              23
current installments
Deferred lease liabilities                  459             441
Other long-term liabilities                 51              51
Total liabilities                           1,536           1,492
                                                           
Shareholders' equity:                                       
Common stock, no par value, 600.0 shares
authorized; 186.0 and 185.8 shares issued;  2,622           2,592
and 185.4 and 185.4 shares outstanding at
2013 and 2012, respectively
Common stock in treasury, at cost           (54)            (28)
Accumulated other comprehensive income      3               5
Retained earnings                           972             1,233
Total shareholders' equity                  3,543           3,802
Commitments and contingencies                               
Total liabilities and shareholders' equity  $5,079         $5,294

                                                             
Whole Foods Market, Inc.                                                    
Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows (unaudited)                           
(In millions)                                                               
                                                             
                                             16 weeks ended
                                             January 20, 2013 January 15,
                                                               2012
Cash flows from operating activities                          
Net income                                    $146           $118
Adjustments to reconcile net income to net                    
cash provided by operating activities:
Depreciation and amortization                 102              93
Share-based payment expense                   17               11
Deferred income tax expense                   6                1
Excess tax benefit related to exercise of     (4)              (5)
team member stock options
Accretion of premium/discount on marketable   9                2
securities
Deferred lease liabilities                    16               23
Other                                         6                2
Net change in current assets and liabilities:                 
Accounts receivable                           17               1
Merchandise inventories                       (27)             (40)
Prepaid expenses and other current assets     (24)             17
Accounts payable                              (4)              (12)
Accrued payroll, bonus and other benefits due 29               16
team members
Other current liabilities                     14               34
Net cash provided by operating activities     303              261
Cash flows from investing activities                          
Development costs of new locations            (96)             (55)
Other property and equipment expenditures     (59)             (57)
Purchases of available-for-sale securities    (366)            (334)
Sales and maturities of available-for-sale    727              440
securities
Increase in restricted cash                   (9)              --
Payment for purchase of acquired entities     (22)             --
Other investing activities                    (5)              (1)
Net cash provided by (used in) investing      170              (7)
activities
Cash flows from financing activities                          
Common stock dividends paid                   (397)            (18)
Issuance of common stock                      9                80
Purchase of treasury stock                    (26)             (4)
Excess tax benefit related to exercise of     4                5
team member stock options
Net cash (used in) provided by financing      (410)            63
activities
Effect of exchange rate changes on cash and   --              1
cash equivalents
Net change in cash and cash equivalents       63               318
Cash and cash equivalents at beginning of     89               212
period
Cash and cash equivalents at end of period    $152           $530
                                                                           
Supplemental disclosure of cash flow                          
information:
Federal and state income taxes paid           $88            $41

                                                     
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 EBITDA        January 20, 2013     January 15, 2012
Net income                        $146               $118
Provision for income taxes        92                  74
Investment and other income, net  (3)                 (2)
of interest expense
Operating income                  235                 190
Depreciation and amortization     102                 93
EBITDA                            337                 283
Share-based payment expense       17                  11
Deferred rent                     11                  14
Adjusted EBITDA                   $365               $308
                                                     
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 Flow                    January 20, 2013     January 15, 2012
Net cash provided by operating    $303               $261
activities
Development costs of new          (96)                (55)
locations
Other property and equipment      (59)                (57)
expenditures
Free Cash Flow                    $148               $149

                                                     
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") as additional information
about its operating results.This measure is not in accordance with, or an
alternative to, GAAP.The Company's management believes that 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 annualized adjusted earnings divided by average
invested capital.Earnings are annualized on a 52-week basis.Adjustments
to earnings are defined in the following tabular reconciliation.Invested
capital represents an average of the trailing four quarters.
                                                     
                                  16 weeks ended
ROIC                               January 20, 2013    January 15, 2012
Net income                         $146              $118
Interest expense, net of taxes     --                 --
Adjusted earnings                  146                118
                                                     
Total rent expense, net of taxes^1 66                 62
Estimated depreciation on
capitalized operating leases, net  (44)               (41)
of taxes^2
Adjusted earnings, including
interest related to operating      168                139
leases
                                                                           
Annualized adjusted earnings       $475              $385
Annualized adjusted earnings,
including interest related to      $547              $452
operating leases
                                                     
Average working capital, excluding $973              $569
current portion of long-term debt
Average property and equipment,    2,146              1,975
net
Average other assets               993                855
Average other liabilities          (480)              (403)
Average invested capital           $3,632            $2,996
Average estimated asset base of    2,789              2,554
capitalized operating leases^3
Average invested capital, adjusted
for capitalization of operating    $6,421            $5,550
leases
                                                     
ROIC                               13.1%               12.8%
ROIC, adjusted for capitalization  8.5%                8.1%
of operating leases
                                                     
^1 Total rent includes minimum base rent of all tendered leases             
^2 Estimated depreciation equals 2/3 of total rent expense                  
^3 Estimated asset base equals 8x total rent expense                        

CONTACT: Cindy McCann
         VP of Investor Relations
         512.542.0204

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