Whole Foods (NASDAQ:WFMI) released a stellar earnings report for the 16-week Q1 ended January 16, 2011.  Shares rose 1.59 percent during the regular trading session in anticipation of good results.  After the results were released in after-hours, shares are up an additional 8.11 percent as of 5:08 p.m. 

Below is a detailed breakdown of the earnings report:

Sales growth were 7.0 percent for Q1 2010, 13.4 percent for Q2 2010, 15.2 percent for Q3 2010, 14.7 percent for Q4 2011, and 13.8 percent for Q1 2011.

The growth rates are annualized and compares to the same period a year ago unless specified otherwise.

Some of the sales growth has come from identical store sales, which jumped 9.1 percent in Q1 2011.   The rest have come from new stores. 

Whole Foods opened six store in Q1 2010 and three stores in Q1 2011.  It opened 16 stores in 2010 and plans to open 17 stores in 2011.

The company has a pretty good track record of generating sales growth from new stores; for stores less than five years old, sales growth almost average 15 percent.  However, their profit margins are a lot lower than old stores, which in turn have lower sales growth rates.

On the expense side, the cost of goods sold and occupancy cost stayed constant as a percentage of sales.  Direct store expenses stayed almost constant relative, as did general and administrative expenses.

What changed was the pre-opening, relocation, store closure, and lease termination costs, which decreased from about $25.2 million in Q1 2010 to just $11.7 million in Q1 2011.  The decrease is due to less store openings and the $10.1 million loss recorded in store closure reserve adjustments (possibly in anticipation of sub-tenants not paying rent) in Q1 2010.

In 2011, Whole Foods increased its provision for income taxes by $21 million – or 5 percentage points more relative to sales – compared to 2010.

On the financial side, interest expenses decreased from $10.5 million from 2010 to just $2.3 million in 2011.  Whole Foods elected to decrease $326 million in total debt and increase investments (some of it in fixed-income) by $92 million, which decreased the net interest cost.

Finally, Whole Foods resumed quarterly cash dividends, since it was cut off after July 2008, at $0.10 per share for a total of $17.3 million in Q1 2011.

Email Hao Li at hao.li@ibtimes.com with comments or errors in this article.