AUSTIN, Texas, July 26, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Whole Foods Market, Inc. (NASDAQ:WFM) today reported results for the 12-week third quarter ended July 2, 2017. For the quarter, total sales increased 0.6% to a record $3.7 billion, and comparable store sales decreased 1.9%. Net income was $106 million, or 2.8% of sales; diluted earnings per share were $0.33; and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (“EBITDA”) were $293 million, or 7.9% of sales. The Company produced operating cash flow of $277 million, free cash flow of $145 million, and returned $44 million in dividends to shareholders, ending the quarter with $1.5 billion of total available capital and $1.0 billion in total debt. Results included charges of $14 million, or $0.03 per diluted share, related to advisory fees. Excluding these charges, diluted earnings per share were $0.36. Please refer to the reconciliation of GAAP measures to non-GAAP measures at the end of this release.
Recent Merger Announcement
On June 16, 2017, Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market, Inc. announced a definitive merger agreement under which Amazon.com will acquire Whole Foods Market for $42 per share in an all-cash transaction valued at approximately $13.7 billion, including Whole Foods Market’s net debt. As such, the Company will not be updating its outlook for fiscal 2017 or longer-term targets and will not be holding a conference call to discuss the Company’s financial results for the third quarter ended July 2, 2017. Completion of the transaction is subject to approval by Whole Foods Market's shareholders, regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions. The parties expect to close the transaction during the second half of 2017.
“For the quarter, we delivered record sales and free cash flow, and returned $44 million in dividends to our shareholders,” said John Mackey, co-founder and chief executive officer of Whole Foods Market. “Our comparable store sales improved sequentially on a one- and two-year basis in the third quarter, and that momentum has accelerated 220 basis points in the fourth quarter, resulting in positive overall comps for the first three weeks.”
Growth and Development
In the third quarter, the Company opened six stores, including one relocation. In the fourth quarter, the Company has opened two stores, and expects to open two additional Whole Foods Market stores and two Whole Foods Market 365 stores, including one relocation.
For the 40-week period ended July 2, 2017, total sales increased 1.3% to $12.4 billion and comparable store sales decreased 2.4%. Net income was $300 million, or 2.4% of sales; diluted earnings per share were $0.94; EBITDA was $941 million, or 7.6% of sales; and return on invested capital was 10%. The Company produced operating cash flow of $901 million, free cash flow of $393 million, and returned $132 million in capital to shareholders through dividends and share repurchases.
About Whole Foods Market
Founded in 1978 in Austin, Texas, Whole Foods Market is the leading natural and organic foods supermarket, the first national “Certified Organic” grocer, and uniquely positioned as America’s Healthiest Grocery Store™. In fiscal year 2016, the Company had sales of approximately $16 billion and currently has over 465 stores in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Whole Foods Market employs approximately 87,000 team members and has been ranked for 20 consecutive years as one of the “100 Best Companies to Work For” in America by Fortune magazine. For more information, please visit www.wholefoodsmarket.com.