Whole Foods Shares Rise On Stock Buyback, Board Changes

By Sue Chang Markets MarketWatch Pulse

Shares of Whole Foods Markets Inc. rose in Wednesday's extended session after the grocery-store chain announced a new stock buyback plan and released in-line earnings. Whole Foods said its board raised the quarterly dividend by 29% to 18 cents a share and declared a new stock buyback program worth $1.25 billion. It also named Gabrielle Sulzberger as the new chair of the board and appointed Keith Manbeck as chief financial officer. The grocery store specializing in organic products reported its second-quarter earnings fell to $99 million, or 31 cents a share, from $142 million, or 44 cents a share, a year earlier. On an adjusted basis, it would have earned 37 cents a share. Revenue rose to $3.74 billion from $3.7 billion. Analysts surveyed by FactSet had forecast earnings of 37 cents a share on revenue of $3.73 billion. For 2017, the company projected sales to grow 1% or more and earnings per share of $1.30 or more. Shares were up more than 2% after hours.

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