According to Zacks, “Whole Foods is revamping its pricing strategy and concentrating on value offerings. Moreover, it has launched a new store concept to target millennials and stave off competition that has been weighing upon its performance. More and more companies are entering as well as expanding their presence in the Organic & Natural food business. This may dent the company’s sales and margins. Whole Foods saw its comps declining for the fourth straight quarter. Comps fell 2.6% in third-quarter fiscal 2016 and 2.4% during the first three weeks of the fourth quarter. Nevertheless, the company is trying to spur sales through store openings, adoption of digital route and home delivery services. Sales rose 2% and also beat the estimate during the third quarter. Management projects sales growth of about 2% but comps decline of 2.4% in the fourth quarter. The company envisions earnings per share in the band of $0.23-$0.24 for the final quarter.”
Several other equities research analysts also recently commented on WFM. Credit Suisse Group AG set a $40.00 target price on Whole Foods Market and gave the stock a buy rating in a report on Wednesday, August 3rd. Wells Fargo & Co. reissued a market perform rating on shares of Whole Foods Market in a report on Thursday, August 4th. Vetr raised Whole Foods Market from a hold rating to a buy rating and set a $33.58 target price on the stock in a report on Thursday, July 28th. RBC Capital Markets set a $37.00 target price on Whole Foods Market and gave the stock a buy rating in a report on Thursday, July 28th. Finally, Oppenheimer Holdings Inc. reissued an outperform rating and issued a $38.00 target price on shares of Whole Foods Market in a report on Wednesday, July 20th. Seven research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seventeen have given a hold rating, five have assigned a buy rating and three have given a strong buy rating to the company. The stock presently has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $30.28.
Whole Foods Market (NASDAQ:WFM) opened at 28.01 on Monday. Whole Foods Market has a 1-year low of $27.67 and a 1-year high of $35.58. The company has a market cap of $8.93 billion, a P/E ratio of 19.87 and a beta of 0.74. The stock’s 50 day moving average price is $29.61 and its 200 day moving average price is $31.11.
Whole Foods Market (NASDAQ:WFM) last released its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, July 27th. The company reported $0.37 earnings per share for the quarter, meeting the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.37. Whole Foods Market had a return on equity of 15.55% and a net margin of 3.03%. The company had revenue of $3.70 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $3.73 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the company posted $0.43 earnings per share. The firm’s revenue was up 2.0% on a year-over-year basis. On average, equities analysts anticipate that Whole Foods Market will post $1.51 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.
The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, October 14th. Investors of record on Monday, October 3rd will be paid a dividend of $0.135 per share. This represents a $0.54 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.93%. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, September 29th. Whole Foods Market’s payout ratio is presently 37.76%.
In related news, Director Shahid M. Hassan sold 7,916 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, September 16th. The stock was sold at an average price of $28.41, for a total transaction of $224,893.56. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this hyperlink. Corporate insiders own 1.09% of the company’s stock.
A number of institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in WFM. Emerald Acquisition Ltd. bought a new stake in shares of Whole Foods Market during the second quarter worth about $55,297,000. Victory Capital Management Inc. increased its stake in shares of Whole Foods Market by 7,373.9% in the second quarter. Victory Capital Management Inc. now owns 1,464,968 shares of the company’s stock worth $46,909,000 after buying an additional 1,445,367 shares during the period. Thompson Siegel & Walmsley LLC increased its stake in shares of Whole Foods Market by 74.0% in the second quarter. Thompson Siegel & Walmsley LLC now owns 2,504,192 shares of the company’s stock worth $80,184,000 after buying an additional 1,065,283 shares during the period. PGGM Investments bought a new stake in shares of Whole Foods Market during the second quarter worth about $31,783,000. Finally, Sustainable Growth Advisers LP increased its stake in shares of Whole Foods Market by 22.0% in the second quarter. Sustainable Growth Advisers LP now owns 4,595,810 shares of the company’s stock worth $147,158,000 after buying an additional 828,443 shares during the period. 86.38% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.
About Whole Foods Market
Whole Foods Market, Inc is engaged in operating natural and organic foods supermarkets. The Company’s brands include Allegro Coffee, Whole Foods Market, Whole Paws and Engine 2 Plant-Strong. As of April 10, 2016, the Company operated 441 stores, which include 421 stores in 42 states in the United States and the District of Columbia, 11 stores in Canada, and 9 stores in the United Kingdom.
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