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

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 good cash flow from operations. 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.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • WFM's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 3.4%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 13.4%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving 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 1.37, which illustrates the ability to avoid short-term cash problems.
  • WHOLE FOODS MARKET INC has improved earnings per share by 18.8% 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 $1.26 versus $0.97 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.45 versus $1.26).
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Food & Staples Retailing industry average. The net income increased by 20.7% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $117.67 million to $142.00 million.
  • Net operating cash flow has increased to $287.00 million or 12.20% when compared to the same quarter last year. The firm also exceeded the industry average cash flow growth rate of -9.47%.

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 $20.7 billion and is part of the services sector and retail industry. Shares are up 22.4% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday.

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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