WASHINGTON (dpa-AFX) - Whole Foods Market Inc. (WFM) reported that its first-quarter net income was $146 million or $0.78 per share, up from $118 million or $0.65 per share in the same quarter last year. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected the company to report earnings of $0.77 per share for the quarter. Analysts' estimates typically exclude special items.
Sales for the quarter rose to $3.86 billion from $3.39 billion in the prior year quarter. Twenty two analysts had consensus revenue estimate of $3.87 billion for the quarter.
Comparable store sales increased 7.2%, and identical store sales, excluding one relocation and three expansions, increased 7.1%.
The company said it opened ten stores in the first quarter and has opened one store so far in the second quarter. The company expects to open five additional stores in the second quarter. The company currently has 345 stores totaling approximately 13.1 million square feet.
Looking forward to the full year 2013, the company continues to expect earnings of $2.83 to $2.87 per share.
The company now expects full year 2013 sales growth of 10 to 11 percent on a comparable store sales growth of 6.6 to 8.0 percent. Earlier, the company expected full year 2013 sales growth of 10 to 12 percent on a comparable store sales growth of 6.5 to 8.5 percent.
On a 52-week to 52-week basis, the company continues to expect sales growth of 12% to 14% and earnings per share growth of 14% to 16%.
The company said it does not expect to produce the same level of earnings per share growth over the remainder of the year as it produced in the first quarter due primarily to tougher gross margin comparisons, particularly in the second and third quarters of last year, along with its ongoing strategy to expand value offerings across the store to improve its competitive price positioning. As such, the company does not expect an improvement in gross margin this year, and given first quarter results, this implies lower year-over-year gross margin for the remainder of the year.
Analysts expect the company to report earnings of $2.90 per share on revenues of $13.13 billion for fiscal 2013.
WFM closed Wednesday at $96.90, up $0.79 or 0.82%. However, in after hours, the stock dropped $6.06 or 6.25%.
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