No one delivers the dynamic and compelling in-store experience that we do

Q4 comps down 2.6% at Whole Foods: 'We are not participating in a race to the bottom'

By Elaine Watson contact

- Last updated on GMT

Whole Foods posts 2.6% decline in comps, drops co-CEO structure

Related tags: John mackey, Revenue

Whole Foods is dropping its co-CEO structure, with John Mackey to take over as sole CEO at the end of the year, said the retailer, which posted a 2.6% decline in same store sales in the fourth-quarter and a 4.2% drop in traffic.

Net income rose 57% to $88m on sales up 1.7% to $3.5bn, said Mackey, who is targeting sales growth of 2.5-4.5% and same store sales in the range of -2% to flat in fiscal 2017.  

For the full year (52 weeks ended September 25), total sales rose 2.2% to $15.7bn with comparable store sales down 2.5%. 

"Our standards lead the industry, and no one delivers the dynamic and compelling in-store experience that we do,"​ Mackey told analysts on the earnings call.

"In a heightened competitive and promotional environment, we have remained focused on our initiatives to build sales over the long-term and are seeing encouraging signs of customers responding, as reflected in our third consecutive quarter of improving items per basket.

"Promotions and price investments are an integral part of our conversation, but we are not participating in a race to the bottom.”

365 store format: We're still incredibly bullish

Asked about the performance of new 365 stores, he said: “Our results have been a little bit mixed. Some of the results have absolutely blown us away and others have been a little bit less than we had hoped for. So we're still incredibly bullish. We've got 19 stores in development and we're evolving the 365 concept.”

Walter Robb will remain on the Company’s Board of Directors and continue to serve as Chairman for both Whole Kids Foundation and Whole Cities Foundation.

Chief financial officer Glenda Flanagan will retire at the end of the 2017 fiscal year, but will continue to serve as a senior advisor, while Mary Ellen Coe, VP of sales and product operations for Google, has joined the board.

Related topics: Markets, People

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