EXHIBIT 99.1

Whole Foods Market Reports First Quarter Results

Company Produces Record Sales of $4.9 Billion; Delivers GAAP EPS of $0.30 and Adjusted EPS of $0.39; Resets Growth Strategy and Accelerates Timeline for Category Management Rollout; Updates FY17 Outlook

AUSTIN, Texas, Feb. 08, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Whole Foods Market, Inc. (NASDAQ:WFM) today reported results for the 16-week first quarter ended January 15, 2017.  For the quarter, total sales increased 1.9% to a record $4.9 billion.  Comparable store sales decreased 2.4%.  Net income was $95 million, or 1.9% of sales; diluted earnings per share were $0.30; and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (“EBITDA”) were $360 million, or 7.3% of sales.  Results included a non-cash charge of $34 million, or $0.06 per diluted share, related to store and facility closures and a charge of $13 million, or $0.03 per diluted share, associated with Mr. Robb’s separation agreement.  Excluding these charges, net income was $123 million, or 2.5% of sales; diluted earnings per share were $0.39; EBITDA margin was 7.6%; and return on invested capital was 12%.  The Company expects to incur an additional charge in the second quarter of approximately $30 million, or $0.06 per diluted share, related to these closures.  Please refer to the reconciliation of GAAP measures to non-GAAP measures at the end of this release.


During the quarter, the Company produced $284 million in cash flow from operations, invested $245 million in capital expenditures, and returned $43 million in quarterly dividends to shareholders.  The Company ended the quarter with $1.1 billion of total debt and $1.2 billion of total available capital.

“In this increasingly competitive marketplace, we are committed to taking every step necessary to improve comps and deliver higher returns for our shareholders,” said John Mackey, co-founder and chief executive officer of Whole Foods Market. “To this end, we are refining our growth strategy, refocusing our efforts on best serving our core customers, and moving faster to fully implement category management. Evolving our purchasing operating model while developing data-rich, customer-centric category management capabilities is critical to our go-forward merchandising, pricing, marketing and affinity strategies."

The following table provides information on the Company’s comparable store sales trends for the first quarter and for the first three weeks of the 12-week second quarter.  Results for the most recent three weeks may not be indicative of results for the full quarter.  The Company will not report quarter-to-date comparable store sales results going forward.

 Comps Change in
Transactions
  Change in
Basket Size
 
Q3 ended July 3, 2016(2.6)%      
Q4 ended September 25, 2016(2.6)%      
Q1 ended January 15, 2017(2.4)% (3.9)%  1.5%* 
        
Q1 - first five weeks ended October 30, 2016(1.6)%      
Q1 - last eleven weeks ended January 15, 2017(2.7)%      
        
Q2 through February 5, 2017(3.2)%**(1.9)%  (1.3)% 
           
*Primarily reflects an increase in items per transaction          
**Reflects a net negative impact from weather events in both years          
           

Gross margin declined 43 basis points to 33.6% driven by increases in occupancy costs and cost of goods sold as a percentage of sales. 

Excluding the charge related to Mr. Robb’s separation agreement, SG&A increased 12 basis points to 28.6% of sales.  A 42 basis point improvement in wages was more than offset by higher marketing and depreciation expenses as a percentage of sales.

Growth and Development
In the first quarter, the Company opened 13 stores, including two relocations.  So far in the second quarter, the Company has opened three stores, including one relocation, and expects to open three additional stores, including one relocation. The Company also closed one commissary kitchen and will be closing nine stores and the Company’s last two remaining commissary kitchens during the quarter.  The Company recently terminated two leases and signed four new leases and currently has 93 stores in development.

Fiscal Year 2017 Updated Outlook
The Company is updating its outlook primarily to reflect lower expected sales growth and new costs associated with accelerating the implementation of category management.  In the first quarter, the Company incurred a charge of approximately $47 million, or $0.09 per diluted share, related to Mr. Robb’s separation agreement as well as store and facility closures.  In the second quarter, the Company expects to incur an additional charge related to these closures of approximately $30 million, or $0.06 per diluted share.  The Company’s outlook excludes these charges and potential share repurchases.

The Company remains focused on the metrics it believes are key to the long-term health of its business and is targeting:

  • Sales growth of 1.5% or greater
  • Comps of approximately -2.5% or better
  • Ending square footage growth of approximately 5% net of closures, reflecting approximately 30 new stores, including up to six relocations and three 365 stores
  • Diluted EPS of $1.33 or greater
  • EBITDA margin of approximately 8%
  • Capital expenditures of approximately 4% of sales
  • ROIC of approximately 11%

The Company has updated its sales outlook primarily to reflect year-to-date sales trends and lost sales related to the store closures.  While the Company remains hopeful that comps improve as sales-building initiatives gain traction and comparisons get easier, the competitive landscape continues to be very dynamic, two-year comps have continued to moderate, and it is uncertain how long the deflationary environment will continue.

The Company plans to reduce its cost structure this fiscal year but expects these savings to be more than offset by investments in marketing, value and technology, as well as higher occupancy, depreciation and other costs.  In addition, the Company is estimating additional costs of approximately $14 million, or $0.03 per diluted share, related to its recent decision to accelerate the implementation of category management, the majority of which it expects to incur in the fourth quarter.  Therefore, the Company now expects a decline in operating margin of up to approximately 85 basis points for the year, with greater declines of up to 115 basis points in the second and fourth quarters due in part to the negative Easter shift and higher year-over-year marketing expense in the second quarter, and costs associated with category management in the fourth quarter.  The Company also notes a LIFO credit of $9 million in the fourth quarter last year as compared to charges of $2 million in the first and second quarters and a credit of $2 million in the third quarter.

Seasonality
Easter will fall in the third quarter of fiscal year 2017 versus the second quarter of fiscal year 2016, negatively impacting comparable store sales growth in the second quarter and positively impacting comparable store sales growth in the third quarter.  Historically, the impact has been approximately 50 basis points.  The Company notes that average weekly sales and gross profit as a percentage of sales are typically highest in the second and third fiscal quarters, and lowest in the fourth fiscal quarter due to seasonally slower sales during the summer months.  Gross profit as a percentage of sales is also lower in the first fiscal quarter due to the product mix of holiday sales.

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 469 stores in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.  Whole Foods Market employs approximately 87,000 team members and has been ranked for 19 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.

Disclaimer on Forward-looking Statements
Certain statements in this press release and from time to time in other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, news releases, reports, and other written and oral communications made by us and our representatives, constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.  These forward-looking statements are often identified by words such as “anticipate,” “believe,” “estimate,” “expect,” “continue,” “could,” “can,” “may,” “will,” “likely,” “depend,” “should,” “would,” “plan,” “predict,” “target,” and similar expressions, and include references to assumptions and relate to our future prospects, developments and business strategies.  Except for the historical information contained herein, the matters discussed in this press release are forward-looking statements that are based on the Company’s current assumptions and involve risks and uncertainties that may cause our actual results to be materially different from such forward-looking statements and could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition, operating results and cash flows.  These forward-looking statements may include comments relating to, among other things, future earnings per share and the Company’s intention to obtain additional debt in the near term and to make planned share repurchases, some of which are subject to risks and uncertainties relating to general business conditions, conditions in the credit and capital markets, changes in overall economic conditions that impact consumer spending, including fuel prices and housing market trends, the impact of competition and other factors which are often beyond the control of the Company, as well other risks listed in the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended September 25, 2016, and other risks and uncertainties not presently known to us or that we currently deem immaterial.  We wish to caution you that you should not place undue reliance on such forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date on which they were made.  We do not undertake any 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 (877) 201-0168, and the conference ID is “Whole Foods.”  A simultaneous audio webcast will be available at www.investor.wholefoodsmarket.com.

         
Whole Foods Market, Inc.        
Consolidated Statements of Operations (unaudited)        
(In millions, except per share amounts)        
           
       16 weeks ended 
       January 15, 2017 January 17, 2016 
Sales    $4,918  $4,829  
Cost of goods sold and occupancy costs     3,268   3,188  
 Gross profit     1,650   1,641  
Selling, general and administrative expenses     1,417   1,373  
 Operating income before pre-opening and store closure     233   268  
Pre-opening expenses     21   13  
Relocation, store closure and lease termination costs     41   3  
 Operating income     171   252  
Interest expense     (15)  (7) 
Investment and other income     -   4  
 Income before income taxes     156   249  
Provision for income taxes     61   92  
 Net income    $95  $157  
           
Basic earnings per share    $0.30  $0.47  
Weighted average shares outstanding     318.2   337.0  
           
Diluted earnings per share    $0.30  $0.46  
Weighted average shares outstanding, diluted basis     318.7   338.2  
           
Dividends declared per common share    $0.140  $0.135  
           
           
A reconciliation of the numerators and denominators of the basic and diluted earnings per share calculations follows:     
       16 weeks ended 
       January 15, 2017 January 17, 2016 
Net income        
(numerator for basic and diluted earnings per share)    $95  $157  
Weighted average common shares outstanding        
(denominator for basic earnings per share)     318.2   337.0  
 Incremental common shares attributable to dilutive effect of share-based awards    0.5   1.2  
Weighted average common shares outstanding and        
potential additional common shares outstanding        
(denominator for diluted earnings per share)     318.7   338.2  
           
Basic earnings per share    $0.30  $0.47  
Diluted earnings per share    $0.30  $0.46  
 

 

Whole Foods Market, Inc.        
Consolidated Statements of Comprehensive Income (unaudited)        
(In millions)        
           
       16 weeks ended 
       January 15, 2017 January 17, 2016 
Net income    $95  $157  
Other comprehensive loss, net of tax:        
 Foreign currency translation adjustments     (1)  (10) 
Other comprehensive loss, net of tax     (1)  (10) 
Comprehensive income    $94  $147  
             

 

Whole Foods Market, Inc.    
Consolidated Balance Sheets (unaudited)    
(In millions)    
       
       
AssetsJanuary 15, 2017 September 25, 2016 
Current assets:    
 Cash and cash equivalents$350  $351  
 Short-term investments - available-for-sale securities 374   379  
 Restricted cash 125   122  
 Accounts receivable 251   242  
 Merchandise inventories 554   517  
 Prepaid expenses and other current assets 123   167  
 Deferred income taxes 210   197  
  Total current assets 1,987   1,975  
Property and equipment, net of accumulated depreciation and amortization 3,460   3,442  
Goodwill 710   710  
Intangible assets, net of accumulated amortization 72   74  
Deferred income taxes 111   100  
Other assets 42   40  
 Total assets$6,382  $6,341  
       
Liabilities and Shareholders’ Equity    
Current liabilities:    
 Current installments of long-term debt and capital lease obligations$3  $3  
 Accounts payable 288   307  
 Accrued payroll, bonus and other benefits due team members 421   407  
 Dividends payable 45   43  
 Other current liabilities 543   581  
  Total current liabilities 1,300   1,341  
Long-term debt and capital lease obligations, less current installments 1,048   1,048  
Deferred lease liabilities 653   640  
Other long-term liabilities 89   88  
 Total liabilities 3,090   3,117  
       
Commitments and contingencies    
       
Shareholders’ equity:    
Common stock, no par value, 1,200 shares authorized;    
 377.0 shares issued; 318.5 and 318.3 shares outstanding    
 at 2017 and 2016, respectively 2,944   2,933  
Common stock in treasury, at cost, 58.5 and 58.7 shares at 2017 and 2016, respectively (2,018)  (2,026) 
Accumulated other comprehensive loss (33)  (32) 
Retained earnings 2,399   2,349  
 Total shareholders’ equity 3,292   3,224  
 Total liabilities and shareholders’ equity$6,382  $6,341  
       

 

Whole Foods Market, Inc.   
Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows (unaudited)   
(In millions)   
       
    16 weeks ended
    January 15, 2017 January 17, 2016
Cash flows from operating activities 
   
Net income $95  $157 
Adjustments to reconcile net income to net cash provided by operating activities:   
 Depreciation and amortization 189   147 
 Share-based payment expense 14   16 
 LIFO expense -   2 
 Deferred income tax benefit  (24)  (30)
 Excess tax benefit related to exercise of team member stock options -   (1)
 Accretion of premium/discount on marketable securities -   1 
 Deferred lease liabilities 18   8 
 Other 4   2 
 Net change in current assets and liabilities:   
  Accounts receivable (9)  6 
  Merchandise inventories (37)  (67)
  Prepaid expenses and other current assets 44   (7)
  Accounts payable (19)  (16)
  Accrued payroll, bonus and other benefits due team members 14   (25)
  Other current liabilities (6)  28 
 Net change in other long-term liabilities 1   11 
 Net cash provided by operating activities 284   232 
Cash flows from investing activities   
Development costs of new locations (150)  (91)
Other property and equipment expenditures (95)  (88)
Purchases of available-for-sale securities (200)  (133)
Sales and maturities of available-for-sale securities 205   220 
Payment for purchase of acquired entities, net of cash acquired -   (11)
Other investing activities (4)  (6)
 Net cash used in investing activities  (244)  (109)
Cash flows from financing activities   
Purchases of treasury stock -   (634)
Common stock dividends paid (43)  (45)
Issuance of common stock 5   7 
Excess tax benefit related to exercise of team member stock options -   1 
Proceeds from long-term borrowings -   999 
Proceeds from revolving line of credit -   300 
Payments on long-term debt and capital lease obligations -   (302)
Other financing activities -   (7)
 Net cash provided by (used in) financing activities (38)  319 
Effect of exchange rate changes on cash and cash equivalents -   (1)
Net change in cash and cash equivalents 2   441 
Cash and cash equivalents at beginning of period 473   364 
Cash and cash equivalents at end of period$475  $805 
       
Supplemental disclosure of cash flow information:   
 Federal and state income taxes paid$76  $137 
 Interest paid$26  $- 
       


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 Adjusted Diluted Earning per Share ("EPS"), 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 Diluted EPS as net income plus charges for store and facility closures and Mr. Robb's seperation agreement divided by the weighted average shares outstanding and potential additional common shares outstanding. The Company defines Adjusted EBITDA as EBITDA plus charges for Mr. Robb's separation agreement. The following is a tabular reconciliation of the non-GAAP financial measures Adjusted Diluted EPS to GAAP Diluted EPS and Adjusted EBITDA to GAAP net income, which the Company believes to be the most directly comparable GAAP financial measures.
          
      16 weeks ended 
Adjusted Earning per Share (EPS)    January 15, 2017 January 17, 2016 
Net income   $95$157 
Store and facility closures, net of tax    20 - 
Mr. Robb's separation agreement, net of tax    8 - 
Adjusted Net income   $123$157 
         
Adjusted Diluted Earning per Share   $0.39$0.46 
Weighted average shares outstanding    318.7 337.0 
          
      16 weeks ended 
EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA    January 15, 2017 January 17, 2016 
Net income    $  95  $  157  
Provision for income taxes       61     92  
Interest expense       15     7  
Investment and other income       -     (4) 
Operating income       171     252  
Depreciation and amortization       189     147  
EBITDA       360     399  
Mr. Robb's separation agreement       13     -  
Adjusted EBITDA    $  373  $  399  
          
          
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 15, 2017 January 17, 2016 
Net cash provided by operating activities     $  284  $  232  
Development costs of new locations        (150)    (91) 
Other property and equipment expenditures        (95)    (88) 
Free Cash Flow    $  39  $  53  
          

 

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”) and Adjusted ROIC as additional information about its operating results. These measures are not in accordance with, or an alternative to, GAAP. The Company’s management believes 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 ROIC earnings divided by average invested capital. ROIC earnings and adjustments to ROIC earnings are defined in the following tabular reconciliation. Invested capital reflects a trailing four-quarter average.
         
      52 weeks ended
ROIC    January 15, 2017 January 17, 2016
Net income    $  445  $  525 
Interest expense, net of tax       30     4 
 ROIC earnings       475     529 
Total rent expense, net of tax1       289     268 
Estimated depreciation on capitalized operating leases, net of tax2       (193)    (178)
 ROIC earnings, including the effect of capitalized operating leases    $  571  $  619 
         
Average working capital, excluding current portion of long-term debt    $  695  $  529 
Average property and equipment, net       3,355     3,121 
Average other assets       967     1,075 
Average other liabilities       (714)    (651)
 Average invested capital       4,303     4,074 
Average estimated asset base of capitalized operating leases3       3,816     3,486 
 Average invested capital, including the effect of capitalized operating leases    $  8,119  $  7,560 
         
ROIC     11.0%  13.0%
ROIC, including the effect of capitalized of operating leases     7.0%  8.2%
         
         
Adjusted ROIC       
Net income    $  445  $  525 
Interest expense, net of tax       30     4 
Adjustments, net of tax4        30     48 
 Adjusted ROIC earnings       505     577 
Total rent expense, net of tax1       289     268 
Estimated depreciation on capitalized operating leases, net of tax2       (193)    (178)
 Adjusted ROIC earnings, including the effect of capitalized operating leases   $  601  $  667 
         
Average working capital, excluding current portion of long-term debt    $  695  $  529 
Average property and equipment, net       3,355     3,121 
Average other assets       967     1,075 
Average other liabilities       (714)    (651)
 Average invested capital       4,303     4,074 
Average estimated asset base of capitalized operating leases3       3,816     3,486 
 Average invested capital, including the effect of capitalized operating leases    $  8,119  $  7,560 
         
Adjusted ROIC     11.7%  14.2%
Adjusted ROIC, including the effect of capitalized operating leases     7.4%  8.8%
         
1 Total rent includes minimum base rent of all tendered leases   
2 Estimated depreciation equals two-thirds of total rent expense 
3 Estimated asset base equals eight times total rent expense 
4 Adjustments include charges related to Mr. Robb's separation agreement in Q1 2017, store and facility closures and asset impairments 
         

Investor Relations Contact:
Cindy McCann
VP of Investor Relations
512.542.0204

Media Contact:
Brooke Buchanan
Brooke.Buchanan@wholefoods.com
512.542.0751


The following information was filed by Whole Foods Market Inc (WFM) on Wednesday, February 8, 2017 as an 8K 2.02 statement, which is an earnings press release pertaining to results of operations and financial condition. It may be helpful to assess the quality of management by comparing the information in the press release to the information in the accompanying 10-Q Quarterly Report statement of earnings and operation as management may choose to highlight particular information in the press release.

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