The Austin, Texas grocery chain Whole Foods (WFM) is starting a new cheaper 365 brand store chain. This is good news. This decision could make their grocery items more accessible to price-conscious consumers. The interesting development, according to the chain's website, are the friends and partners that could set up kiosks and booths inside these 365 stores. Here is the quote from the website: "Friends of 365 may be any type of business - from food and drinks to fashion, body care products, services, and more (record shops? Tattoo parlors? Maybe!). Isn't that wonderful? A little tableh and a MOM tattoo.
I once bought a $5 lemon from Whole Foods.
My point with that depressing confession is that Whole Foods has the reputation for being a wallet vacuum cleaner. The worst part is that the organic grocery wars are bloody nowadays. Trader Joe's has a firm grip on cheap, small, and organic. While, Whole Foods has a firm grip on the basket-size organic grocery trip. Hooray for that, but shares and sales are down. To be specific, shares of Whole Foods are down 45 percent from last year.
These new stores look in concept a lot like the idea Walmart had with the Walmart Express debacle. Walmart thought: Instead of opening up a big giant store, we will give the people a smaller, convenient Walmart. Well, that concept bombed. The 365 Whole Foods is supposed to be an experience, according to press releases. I would agree that the experience in a Walmart compared to a Whole Foods has a much different vibe, but this is a numbers game here. Whole Foods added 38 stores in 2015, and around 30 in 2016, plus the new 365 locations. The chain is starting to create price-cutting measure like sales, coupons, and specials. However, this idea does not exactly boost sales. It is clear that the 365 stores are an attempt to appeal to other types of customers. We will have to wait and see if getting inked or buying a record with your lentil salad is as awesome as it sounds.