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Whole Foods Market Reports First Quarter Results

Based on its first quarter results and updated assumptions, the Company is raising its diluted EPS range to $1.76 to $1.80, an increase of 23% to 26% year over year.  The Company's updated outlook translates to diluted EPS of $1.25 to $1.29 for the remaining three quarters of the year, the low end of which is in line with the current analyst consensus estimate of $1.25.  For the remaining three quarters of the year, the Company does not expect to produce the same level of year-over-year earnings growth as in the first quarter due to a greater year-over-year increase in pre-opening and relocation expenses of approximately $14 to $17 million, a greater negative change in LIFO of approximately $10 to $11 million year over year, and lower total sales growth on tougher comparisons, which could make it difficult to leverage costs to the extent the Company did in the first quarter. In addition, while G&A expenses are still expected to average 3.0% of sales for the year, the Company expects higher costs in the second quarter due mainly to increases in wages and investments in other initiatives. 

The Company is committed to producing positive free cash flow on an annual basis, including sufficient cash flow to fund the 56 stores in its current development pipeline. The following table provides information about the Company's estimated store openings through 2014 based on this pipeline. These openings reflect estimated tender dates, which are subject to change, and do not incorporate any potential new leases, terminations or square footage reductions.
  Total Openings Relocations Average Square Feet per Store Ending Square Footage 1 Ending Square Footage Growth 1
           
FY11 remaining stores in development 14 5 40,000 11,847,500 5%
FY12 stores in development 20 1 35,100 12,527,700 6%
FY13 stores in development 18 2 37,100 13,131,200 5%
FY14 stores in development 4 0 46,300 13,316,300 1%
Total 56 8      

1 Reflects three openings and one expansion year to date and two additional expansions in fiscal year 2011

About Whole Foods Market

Founded in 1980 in Austin, Texas, Whole Foods Market ( www.wholefoodsmarket.com) is the leading natural and organic foods supermarket, and America's first national certified organic grocer . In fiscal year 2010, the Company had sales of approximately $9.0 billion and currently has 302 stores in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Whole Foods Market employs approximately 59,000 Team Members and has been ranked for 14 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, changes in the Company's access to available capital, 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 26, 2010.  Whole Foods Market undertakes no obligation to update forward-looking statements. 

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