AUSTIN, Texas, Nov. 02, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Whole Foods Market, Inc. (NASDAQ:WFM) today reported results for the 12-week fourth quarter ended September 25, 2016. For the quarter, total sales increased to a record $3.5 billion. Comparable store sales decreased 2.6%. Net income was $88 million, or 2.5% of sales, and diluted earnings per share were $0.28. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization ("EBITDA") were $276 million, or 7.9% of sales, and return on invested capital was 13%. Please refer to the reconciliation of GAAP measures to non-GAAP measures at the end of this release. During the quarter, the Company produced $352 million in cash flow from operations, invested $195 million in capital expenditures, returned $44 million in quarterly dividends to shareholders, and repurchased $15 million or 0.5 million shares of common stock. The Company ended the quarter with $1.1 billion of total debt and $1.2 billion of total available capital. "In a year that presented many headwinds for food retailers, we made measurable progress on positioning our company for continued success while producing industry-leading sales per gross square foot and healthy returns on invested capital," said John Mackey, co-founder and co-chief executive officer of Whole Foods Market. "Through our strong balance sheet and robust cash flow, we self-funded our new store development and technology investments and, in keeping with our capital allocation strategy, returned more than $1.1 billion to our shareholders through dividends and share repurchases." "Food retailing is evolving at an incredibly fast pace, and consumers have many more options for how and where they buy their food than ever before. At the same time, the market opportunity is expanding as the consciousness about fresh, healthy foods continues to awaken," said Walter Robb, co-chief executive officer of Whole Foods Market. "Our company mission and commitment to transparency are more relevant and timely than ever, and we will keep innovating and creating environments where people can connect and find a sense of community - in our stores and in the digital world."