Whole Foods Set to Pay 10-Cent Quarterly Dividend

Whole Foods Market said Wednesday that its board approved a quarterly dividend of 10 cents a share, reversing the company's suspension of the payout program that took place amid the financial crisis in August 2008.

A Whole Foods Market in Dallas.
Donna Mcwilliam
A Whole Foods Market in Dallas.

The first dividend will be payable January 20, 2011 to shareholders of record as if January 10, 2011. In total, the organic food retailer will distribute $17 million each quarter, or $69 million annually.

"The company's favorable financial position and long-term outlook give us the confidence to reinstate our quarterly cash dividend," said John Elstrott, Whole Foods chairman said in a stsatement.

"As a company with significant future growth opportunities, we are fortunate to have sufficient cash on hand and predictable cash flow allowing us to pay off our debt, accelerate our growth, and also return cash to our shareholders."

In its fiscal 2010 report, Whole Foods said it generated $585.3 million in cash flow from operations and reinvested $256.8 million in capital expenditures.

Shares of Whole Foods rose a fraction on Wednesday. Click here for after-hours quotes.