Whole Foods Market Inc. Stock Buy Recommendation Reiterated (WFM)

Editor's Note: TheStreet ratings do not represent the views of TheStreet's staff or its contributors. Ratings are established by computer based on metrics for performance (which includes growth, stock performance, efficiency and valuation) and risk (volatility and solvency). Companies with poor cash flow or high debt levels tend to earn lower ratings in our model.

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Whole Foods Market (Nasdaq: WFM) has been reiterated by TheStreet Ratings as a buy with a ratings score of A+ . The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income and expanding profit margins. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company is trading at a premium valuation based on our review of its current price compared to such things as earnings and book value.

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Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • WFM's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 8.2%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 13.7%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • WFM's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.01 and is currently below that of the industry average, implying that there has been very successful management of debt levels. Along with the favorable debt-to-equity ratio, the company maintains an adequate quick ratio of 1.21, which illustrates the ability to avoid short-term cash problems.
  • WHOLE FOODS MARKET INC has improved earnings per share by 20.0% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past two years. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, WHOLE FOODS MARKET INC increased its bottom line by earning $2.52 versus $1.94 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($2.88 versus $2.52).
  • The company, on the basis of net income growth from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly outperformed against the S&P 500 and exceeded that of the Food & Staples Retailing industry average. The net income increased by 23.4% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $118.33 million to $146.00 million.
  • 37.60% is the gross profit margin for WHOLE FOODS MARKET INC which we consider to be strong. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 3.78% is above that of the industry average.

Whole Foods Market, Inc. owns and operates a chain of natural and organic foods supermarkets. The company offers produce, grocery, meat and poultry, seafood, bakery, prepared foods and catering, coffee and tea, nutritional supplements, and vitamins. Whole Foods Market has a market cap of $15.81 billion and is part of the services sector and retail industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 32.2, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are down 6.4% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

You can view the full Whole Foods Market Ratings Report or get investment ideas from our investment research center.

--Written by a member of TheStreet Ratings Staff.

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