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Although it hit record sales of $3.7 billion during the period, Whole Foods Market posted continually slumping earnings during its 2016 fiscal third-quarter.
During the 12-week period ended July 3, the Austin, Texas-based food retailer recorded earnings of $120 million (37 cents per share), compared with $154 million (43 cents per share) during the same period last year. Comparable-store sales also declined, falling 2.6 percent compared with the period one year prior, a larger decline than anticipated.
Despite the earnings decline, Walter Robb, Whole Foods' co-CEO, said that he had strong faith in the effectiveness of the retailer’s initiatives to deliver stronger value to its customers.
“We are continuing to make measurable progress on fundamentally evolving our business, including the successful launch of our new 365 format, expanded value investments, and increased efforts to better understand and provide personalized offers to our customers,” he noted. “We are seeing some encouraging signs in terms of our sales and believe our nine-point plan will produce strong returns for our shareholders over the long term.”
Continued investment in the future of the 365 by Whole Foods Market format, whose second store recently opened and fourth location was just announced, also will be a bright spot for Whole Foods’ turnaround, suggested co-CEO John Mackey.
“Designed around affordability and convenience, and supported by enhanced digital experiences, our 365 stores deliver a fresh new format to the marketplace,” he asserted. “Through lower capital and operating costs, we are able to offer great values to our customers, and the response has been overwhelmingly positive. Our 365 stores are firsts for us in so many ways, from a streamlined operating model, to centralized buying, to auto-replenishment of inventory. We are already taking advantage of our many learnings to shape and evolve not just future 365 stores. but Whole Foods Market stores as well.”
Austin, Texas-based Whole Foods operates more than 435 stores throughout the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.