Whole Foods Markets has had six quarters of declining sales and is rumored to be on the block, available for sale. It’ll probably be expensive.
Whole Foods was launched on a hope and a prayer in Austin in 1978, and was an instant hit. “They were so successful that they got a lot of imitators,’ says Jordan Goodman, America’s Money Answers Man, a financial analyst. Whole Foods Markets has been the place for cooler-than-thou Birkenstock-wearing customers to go and be seen being trendy and cool in their uniqueness. The problem is, according to Goodman, they just aren’t unique anymore. “A lot of people can get the same organic produce and vitamins at Kroger, Safeway, etc.” Goodman says when the same or similar products are available elsewhere, it’s hard to justify the price point. “People joke about Whole Foods saying, ‘I’m going to Whole Paycheck’ because that’s what they think it’s going to cost,” he laughs.
But it’s still where the cool people shop. “I think there is still a cool factor. I just think on the margins a lot of people who wanted to buy organic produce and organic fish have been lured away from traditional supermarkets,” Goodman tells KTRH News, but suggests while their sales are down the company isn’t out, and is trying new things. The landscape for all retailers is in massive flux today, evidenced by the closing of many brick and mortar stores, and grocery stores haven’t been excluded from the mayhem. Whole Foods is experimenting. “They’ve got a new, smaller format called 365, where it’s not as many products as a traditional Whole Foods store, and that’s been somewhat successful.”