With a $10,000 loan from his father, John Mackey started SaferWay Natural Foods in Austin, Texas, in 1978. Two years later SaferWay merged with Clarksville Natural Grocery, and Whole Foods Market was born. Seeking capital to expand even more, the company raised $23 million by going public in early 1992 with 12 stores. Every competitor in the fragmented health foods industry became a potential acquisition, and the chain began growing rapidly. In 1998 Whole Foods opened its first store in Boulder -- a 39,000-sq.-ft. superstore with amenities such as a juice bar and a prepared foods section. In 2000 Whole Foods merged its online operations (wholefoods.com) with its direct marketing and nutritional supplement unit (Amrion) to form Wholepeople.com. Later that year the company merged Wholepeople.com with lifestyle marketing firm Gaiam. In2002 Whole Foods crossed the border into Canada. Its first foreign store opened in downtown Toronto that May. To support its rapid growth, Whole Foods Market expanded its number of operating regions from eight to 10 by separating the Southwest region into the Southwest and Rocky Mountain regions, and the Northern Pacific region into the Northern California and Pacific Northwest region. For the first time in its 29-year history, Whole Foods reported negative same-store sales in the quarter ended December 2008 as traffic in its stores fell.
- Whole Foods is one of the leading organic foods supermarket chain in the United States, also in Canada, and the United Kingdom. Not only in terms of how many employees they have but also the amount of store they run and their annual revenue. - Whole Foods carry a wide variety of organic and non-organic food products to be sold in their walk-in and online store that makes them one stop shop for customers to celebrate any occasions. - Excelent customer service experience including their own blog site where customers can exchange recipes, event ideas, and a lot of other things related to Whole Foods products. Weakness
- Whole Foods still not penetrating deep enough for its international operations. Eleven stores opened in Canada and UK combined is a pale comparison with their national growth rate in the US with around one hundred eighty eight stores running accross the nation. - Whole Foods has a higher prices as the result of their commitment to sell high quality natural and organic foods compared to the non organic. This tend to drive the customers away from them, especially in this hard economy times where people try to find bargains. - The number of organic food farmers is growing in a slow pace and causing difficulties for Whole Foods to supply their organic items. Opportunities
- Whole Foods should re-brand their image as the source to get healthy foods through their wide variety organic foods. But first they should re-shape customers thinking that eat healthy is the new modern lifestyle because eating organic foods will dramatically improve the quality of of life. - Whole Foods should strengthen their relationship with its customers by offering them more rewards like gift shopping cards, engaging more in the community by sponsors some events near each stores. Threats
- Increasing competition from other supermarket brands and also other smaller traditional farmer's market that also sell organic foods. - The worsen situation economic condition affect customer's buying power. Organic foods tend to cost more than the non organic ones, so in this difficult times customers tend to find bargains in eating cheaper non-organic foods.
Key Significant Factors
Organic and natural foods industry key success factors are that they mainly concentrated on high-income resident because they know that these high-income customers are willing to pay at premium price. Also, the organic and naturals foods stores trained and educated their employees so their employees could educate the customers that...