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 research firms have also issued reports on WFM. Royal Bank Of Canada restated a buy rating on shares of Whole Foods Market in a research report on Tuesday, July 12th. Wedbush restated a neutral rating and issued a $32.00 price target (up from $29.00) on shares of Whole Foods Market in a research report on Friday, June 17th. Macquarie upgraded shares of Whole Foods Market from a neutral rating to an outperform rating in a research report on Monday, July 25th. Oppenheimer Holdings Inc. reiterated an outperform rating and set a $38.00 target price on shares of Whole Foods Market in a research report on Tuesday, August 16th. Finally, Northcoast Research lowered shares of Whole Foods Market from a neutral rating to a sell rating and set a $24.00 target price on the stock. in a research report on Wednesday, June 15th. Seven analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seventeen have assigned a hold rating, five have issued a buy rating and three have given a strong buy rating to the company. Whole Foods Market presently has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $30.28.
Whole Foods Market (NASDAQ:WFM) opened at 29.33 on Monday. Whole Foods Market has a 12-month low of $27.67 and a 12-month high of $35.58. The firm’s 50-day moving average price is $29.29 and its 200 day moving average price is $30.94. The stock has a market cap of $9.35 billion, a PE ratio of 20.80 and a beta of 0.82.
Whole Foods Market (NASDAQ:WFM) last posted its earnings results on Wednesday, July 27th. The company reported $0.37 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, meeting analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.37. Whole Foods Market had a net margin of 3.03% and a return on equity of 15.55%. The business had revenue of $3.70 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $3.73 billion. During the same period last year, the business posted $0.43 EPS. Whole Foods Market’s revenue was up 2.0% compared to the same quarter last year. Analysts anticipate that Whole Foods Market will post $1.51 EPS for the current year.
The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, October 14th. Stockholders of record on Monday, October 3rd will be issued a $0.135 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, September 29th. This represents a $0.54 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.84%. Whole Foods Market’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 37.76%.
In other news, Director Shahid M. Hassan sold 7,916 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Friday, September 16th. The shares were sold at an average price of $28.41, for a total value of $224,893.56. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through the SEC website. 1.09% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.
A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of WFM. Pitcairn Co. raised its position in shares of Whole Foods Market by 0.4% in the second quarter. Pitcairn Co. now owns 15,469 shares of the company’s stock worth $496,000 after buying an additional 63 shares during the period. Reliance Trust Co. of Delaware raised its position in Whole Foods Market by 0.9% in the second quarter. Reliance Trust Co. of Delaware now owns 9,439 shares of the company’s stock valued at $302,000 after buying an additional 87 shares during the last quarter. Cullinan Associates Inc. raised its position in Whole Foods Market by 0.4% in the third quarter. Cullinan Associates Inc. now owns 23,500 shares of the company’s stock valued at $666,000 after buying an additional 100 shares during the last quarter. First Manhattan Co. raised its position in Whole Foods Market by 1.0% in the second quarter. First Manhattan Co. now owns 10,103 shares of the company’s stock valued at $323,000 after buying an additional 103 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Sumitomo Mitsui Asset Management Company LTD raised its position in Whole Foods Market by 0.5% in the second quarter. Sumitomo Mitsui Asset Management Company LTD now owns 25,878 shares of the company’s stock valued at $828,000 after buying an additional 127 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 86.38% of the company’s stock.
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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