Strong profits reaffirm Whole Foods place in today's grocery landscape

November 11, 2004, as reported by Whole Foods Markets, the supermarket chain known for bringing natural and organic products to the relative mainstream is getting renewed reinforcement that it has indeed found a missing niche in the grocery market.

Company reports show fourth quarter new income is up 27% for the Austin, Texas-based retailer, thanks to strong sales.

The company reported net income of US$30.2m, or 46 cents per share, for the fourth quarter to September 26, compared to $23.8m, or 38 cents per share, for the year-ago period. Sales increased 24% to $927.3m from $750.7m a year earlier.

For the fiscal year, sales increased 23% to $3.9bn, net income increased 32% to $137.1m, and earnings per share increased 26% to $2.09.

"Our fourth quarter results cap off an outstanding year," said John Mackey, chairman, chief executive officer and co-founder of Whole Foods Market, adding that the 23% rise in full-year sales came in a year “that has proven to be very challenging for most food retailers”.

The company, which has a stated long-term growth goal of $10bn in sales by the year 2010, said it still expects sales growth of 15% to 20% in fiscal 2005 and comparable store sales growth of 8% to 10%. According to their website Whole Foods is already the world's largest retailer of natural and organic foods.

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