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Whole Foods CEO's Projections: A Question of Timing?

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Whole Foods CEO John Mackey spoke to a libertarian conference in 2004, and now Liberty magazine has printed his talk. Mackey's talk was controversial because he urged the libertarians to give up their fascination with Ayn Rand, drugs, guns, porn and prostitution--all things which he said hurt the brand. Instead they should concentrate on creating educational choice, privatizing Social Security, deregulating health care, and tort reform
Perhaps more interesting, it seems that he may have given some very specific projections on the future of the company he runs.
More after the jump.

Before I make my next point, let me boast about Whole Foods Market for a moment. In 2005, we did $4.7 billion in sales and realized $136 million in net profits. With our current growth rates, by 2010 we should do over $12 billion in sales. On a percentage basis Whole Foods Market is the most profitable public food retailing business in the United States, with the highest net profit percentage, sales growth, and sales per square foot. I make this boast to prove that (a) I believe in profit and (b) I am quite competent in producing it.

Back in March of this year, Mackey told investors the same thing, and the company issued a press release with this projection in May.
It seems that Whole Foods could have a problem here if Mackey really gave this information out to a small group of libertarians in 2004, and then waited disclose it to the broader markets until 2006. Note, however, that the introduction to the Liberty piece states that the talk has been edited by Mackey, including providing an update to the numbers business numbers. We're curious what numbers he gave out in 2004, if any at all. So far, we haven't been able to reach anyone at Whole Foods for comment.
2:15 PM Update: Eddy Elfenbein of Crossing Wall Street points us to this March 2005 press release that contains 2010 projections estimating $10 billion in sales. To our minds, this makes it both (a) more likely that the speech has been altered to reflect current company projections and (b) more problematic if Mackey was throwing around different numbers to small groups of individuals who share his politics than the ones Whole Foods was publicly disclosing in its filings.



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