Whole Foods Market this week posted positive numbers for the company’s third quarter ending July 7.
The Austin, Texas-based grocery chain reported that sales increased 12 percent to $3.1 billion. Comparable store sales increased 7.5 percent, and identical store sales, excluding four relocations and one expansion, increased 7.2 percent. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) increased 17 percent from the prior year to $306 million or 10.0 percent of sales, net income increased 21 percent to $142 million and diluted earnings per share increased 20 percent to $0.38.
“We are dedicated to providing communities with fresh, healthy, natural and organic food and are on track to deliver our fourth consecutive year of increases in new store openings,” said Walter Robb, co-CEO of Whole Foods. “We continue to gain market share and see demand for 1,000 Whole Foods Market stores in the U.S. alone. Our outstanding operational performance is funding our growth, and our new stores are creating a cycle of innovation across the company. We have signed 50 new leases over the last 12 months, increasing our development pipeline to 94 leases, and expect accelerating square-footage growth for several years to come.”
The company opened four stores in the third quarter. In the fourth quarter, the company has opened four stores so far and expects to open eight additional stores. The company currently has 355 stores open, totaling approximately 13.5 million s.f.
Additionally, Whole Foods recently signed 12 new leases averaging 41,000 s.f. in size in Little Rock, Ark; Dublin, Calif.; Los Angeles, Calif.; Walnut Creek, Calif.; Davie, Fla.; Augusta, Ga.; Lake Forest, Ill.; East Lansing, Mich.; St. Paul, Minn.; Lake Norman, N.C.; Columbus, Ohio; and Houston, Texas. These stores currently are scheduled to open in fiscal year 2014 and beyond.
Over the long term, the company says it considers 1,000 stores to be a reasonable indication of its market opportunity in the U.S.