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Whole Foods Market Reports First Quarter Results

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 growth 8.7% 8.9% 8.9% 8.5% 7.2% 6.4%
Two-year comps 17.7% 17.3% 16.6% 17.3% 15.9% 15.9%
Identical store sales growth 8.2% 8.5% 8.6% 8.3% 7.1% 6.1%
Two-year idents 17.3% 16.8% 16.1% 16.7% 15.3% 15.1%
Sequential basis point change 24 (53) (68) 64 (143)  
Three-year idents 19.8% 24.5% 24.5% 25.4% 24.3% 23.8%
Sequential basis point change 502 467 5 90 (103)  
*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.

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