Whole Foods gets new stock symbol, posts strong Q2

AUSTIN, Texas -- Whole Foods investors got some big news today, not only did the company report that sales for its second quarter rose 12% to $2.4 billion, it announced that is changing its trading symbol to WFM from WFMI effective May 6.

The company reported that second-quarter comparable- and identical-store sales increased 7.8%, or 16.5% and 15.5% on a two-year stacked basis, respectively, including a negative impact of 50 basis points from Easter shifting from the second quarter last year to the third quarter this year. Whole Foods said its net income increased 33% to $89.9 million, and diluted earnings per share increased 29% to 51 cents. 

"These are the strongest overall results we have reported in the past five years. Our solid execution is generating consistent cash flow, and with our long-term debt now fully repaid, we are considering other uses for our growing cash balance, including accelerating our growth, raising our dividend and repurchasing stock," said John Mackey co-founder and co-CEO of Whole Foods Market. "We are very proud of our balance sheet and that, despite a much tougher year-ago comparison, we are reporting our sixth consecutive quarter of accelerating two-year identical store sales growth. Based on our results for the quarter, we have raised our earnings outlook by 10 cents for the year."

Based on its second quarter results and updated assumptions, Walgreens said it is raising its diluted EPS range for the year to $1.87 to $1.90, an increase of 31% to 33% year over year. 

Whole Foods reported that it opened three stores, including one relocation, in the second quarter and has relocated one store so far in the third quarter. The company said it expects to open six additional new stores, including two relocations, in the third quarter. The company currently has 304 stores totaling approximately 11.5 million square feet.

Whole Foods also provided results for the five-week period ending May 1. Whole Foods reporting period included Easter in both years, and the company reported that identical-store sales increased 7.9%. On a two-year basis, identical-store sales increased 16%, in line with results for the second quarter excluding the negative impact of the Easter shift.