Is Whole Foods Having Financial Woes?

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An article in Natural News reports on the decline in revenues for Whole Foods, as well as the rise for stores like Costco.

“After six consecutive quarters of same-store declines, Whole Foods was forced to close the doors of nine different stores.”

“Costco’s organic sales are growing so rapidly, that in 2016 the retailer announced that they would be pursuing an initiative to help their farmers purchase more land, so they can grow more organic food. CEO Craig Jelinek reportedly told investors, “We cannot get enough organics to stay in business day in and day out.”” — Natural News

I am an original shopper of Whole Foods, although I’ve not been there in some time. First, they got too darn expensive, and then there was some disturbing news about their activities on the GMO issue. That one broke my heart because it was so far from the purpose of the original store. One of the benefits of being around awhile is that you possess the long view. So, what happened here?

In the olden days, we had a few food co-ops in town, and that was where people who were interested in non-processed foods went. Then we got a little older and wanted to feed our growing families the same healthful foods. Enter Whole Foods. It was like a slice of heaven with incredible selections of produce and products. There were helpful people who could assist you in finding what you needed. However, you still needed to go to a regular store for the basics like laundry soap and toilet paper.

The people who run HEB, the most successful grocery chain in central Texas, took note and countered with Central Market, which combined the best of both worlds. I started shopping more there because it was easier. This chain watched what sold well and introduced the products into their regular stores, and the rest is history. Soon there were specialty stores like Natural Grocers and Sprouts, as well organic sections in all the major grocery stores. Organic became mainstream, and the grocers figured out how to do it at reasonable prices.

At the same time, prices at Whole Foods started rising, and they took on more of an elitist image, with prime spots in high-end shopping centers. Economically, many people were living with paychecks that did not go as far. (I could not justify spending my money there.) I don’t think the leadership at Whole Foods saw the big picture because not only were they facing competition, but they were pricing themselves out of their established market base and totally missing other shoppers.

Now Costco and HEB are partnering with organic farmers, in order to get enough product for their demand. It is quite a change, which is being driven by the wants of customers. It is a quiet revolution with far-reaching effects.

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After more than 25 years in the financial world, Linda has returned to teaching and writing. She is a moderator and administrator on the transients Forum site.

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1 Comment on "Is Whole Foods Having Financial Woes?"

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Angela

I only go to whole foods when it's close and our only option. When i first got married, it was the only option, and we had to drive into the city to get to it. But i had so much fun seeing fruits I'd never heard of nor seen, and trying out new things.

I LOVE natural grocers though. They are amazing. The employees are always so helpful and all the produce is organic. You don't have to go sifting through it all to find it.
They're also very open to adding new product at a suggestion, hoping to personalize it to the clientele in the area.

My brother also refers to whole foods as "whole paycheck". It really is a shame. How sad it is that they would take such a necessary product as wholesome food and "high end" it.

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