Whole Foods Shares Surge On Positive Earnings (WFMI)

Whole Foods
WFMI
reported very impressive 4Q results after the close – delivering IDs up 8.7%, EBIT expansion of 100 bps YOY, and EPS growth of 61.4% YOY. More impressive, and certainly not anticipated by most, QTD IDs are up 8.9% or 9.3% on a 2-year basis – a 300 bp sequential uptick as the company continues to enjoy: solid traffic trends; a new customer shopping its locations; food inflation across the store, and a modestly expanding basket. Whole Foods reported 4Q10 EPS of $0.33, which was $0.04 ahead of J.P Morgan's $0.29 estimate and a nickel ahead of the Street. Relative to JPM's model, the quality of the print looked clean. On the top line, total sales growth of 14.7% was slightly better than our 12.9% estimate – driven by strong 8.7% ID sales growth and 6.1% sq. footage growth and contributing $0.005 of upside. Also, pre-opening and relocation costs combined to be $3.8 million less than the forecast, netting to upside of $0.014. Finally, slightly higher interest expense was more than offset by a slightly lower than expected tax rate, contributing $0.005 of upside. JPM has an Overweight rating and a $50 PT on WFMI WFMI closed Wednesday at $41.07

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