Whole Foods Markets Inc. Quarterly Valuation – October 2014 $WFM

500px-Whole_Foods_Market_logo.svgBenjamin Graham taught that Intelligent Investors must do a thorough fundamental analysis of investment opportunities to determine their intrinsic value and inherent risk.  This is best done by utilizing a systematic approach to analysis that will provide investors with a sense of how a specific company compares to another company or by reviewing the 5 Highest Dividend Yields Among Undervalued Companies for the Defensive Investor - October 2014.  By using the ModernGraham method one can review a company’s historical accomplishments and determine an intrinsic value that can be compared across industries.  What follows is a specific look at how Whole Foods Markets Inc. (WFM) fares in the ModernGraham valuation model.

Company Profile (obtained from Google Finance): Whole Foods Market, Inc. (Whole Foods Market), is a retailer of natural and organic foods. The Company operates in one segment: natural and organic foods supermarkets. As of September 29, 2013, it operated 362 stores in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. The Company’s stores average 38,000 square feet in size and are supported by its Austin headquarters, regional offices, distribution centers, bakehouse facilities, commissary kitchens, seafood-processing facilities, meat and produce procurement centers, and a specialty coffee and tea procurement and roasting operation. In February 2014, Whole Foods Market Inc acquired leases from Safeway Inc for seven locations formerly operated as Dominick’s stores.

Defensive Investor – must pass at least 6 of the following 7 tests: Score = 3/7

  1. Adequate Size of Enterprise – market capitalization of at least $2 billion - PASS
  2. Sufficiently Strong Financial Condition – current ratio greater than 2 - FAIL
  3. Earnings Stability – positive earnings per share for at least 10 straight years - PASS
  4. Dividend Record – has paid a dividend for at least 10 straight years - FAIL
  5. Earnings Growth – earnings per share has increased by at least 1/3 over the last 10 years using 3 year averages at beginning and end of period - PASS
  6. Moderate PEmg ratio – PEmg is less than 20 – FAIL
  7. Moderate Price to Assets – PB ratio is less than 2.5 or PB x PEmg is less than 50 - FAIL

Enterprising Investor – must pass at least 4 of the following 5 tests or be suitable for a defensive investor: Score = 4/5

  1. Sufficiently Strong Financial Condition, Part 1 – current ratio greater than 1.5 - FAIL
  2. Sufficiently Strong Financial Condition, Part 2 – Debt to Net Current Assets ratio less than 1.1 - PASS
  3. Earnings Stability – positive earnings per share for at least 5 years – PASS
  4. Dividend Record – currently pays a dividend - PASS
  5. Earnings growth – EPSmg greater than 5 years ago - PASS

Valuation Summary

Key Data:

Recent Price $38.26
MG Value $51.00
MG Opinion Fairly Valued
Value Based on 3% Growth $19.21
Value Based on 0% Growth $11.26
Market Implied Growth Rate 10.19%
Net Current Asset Value (NCAV) -$0.22
PEmg 28.88
Current Ratio 1.43
PB Ratio 3.68

Balance Sheet – June 2014

Current Assets $1,839,000,000
Current Liabilities $1,282,000,000
Total Debt $60,000,000
Total Assets $5,734,000,000
Intangible Assets $790,000,000
Total Liabilities $1,921,000,000
Outstanding Shares 367,200,000

Earnings Per Share

2014 (estimate) $1.51
2013 $1.47
2012 $1.26
2011 $0.97
2010 $0.72
2009 $0.43
2008 $0.41
2007 $0.65
2006 $0.71
2005 $0.50
2004 $0.50

Earnings Per Share – ModernGraham

2014 (estimate) $1.32
2013 $1.14
2012 $0.91
2011 $0.70
2010 $0.57
2009 $0.51

Dividend History


Whole Foods Markets qualifies for the Enterprising Investor but not the Defensive Investor.  The Defensive Investor is concerned by the company’s low current ratio, the short dividend history, and the high PEmg and PB ratios.  The Enterprising Investor’s only issue is with the level of debt relative to the current assets.  As a result, Enterprising Investors following the ModernGraham approach based on Benjamin Graham’s methods should feel comfortable proceeding with further research into the company and comparing it to other opportunities.  As for a valuation, the company appears to be fairly valued after growing its EPSmg (normalized earnings) from $0.57 in 2010 to an estimated $1.32 for 2014.  This level of demonstrated growth supports the market’s implied estimate of 10.19% earnings growth and leads the ModernGraham valuation model, based on Benjamin Graham’s formula, to return an estimate of intrinsic value within a margin of safety relative to the price.

Be sure to check out previous ModernGraham valuations of Whole Foods Markets Inc. (WFM) for a better perspective!

The next part of the analysis is up to individual investors, and requires discussion of the company’s prospects.  What do you think?  What value would you put on Whole Foods Markets Inc. (WFM)?  Where do you see the company going in the future?  Is there a company you like better?  Leave a comment on our Facebook page or mention @ModernGraham on Twitter to discuss.

Disclaimer:  The author did not hold a position in Whole Foods Markets Inc. (WFM) or in any other company mentioned in this article at the time of publication and had no intention of changing that position within the next 72 hours.  Logo taken from Wikipedia for the sole purpose of identifying the company; this article is not affiliated with the company in any manner.

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