An Academic Review of Whole Foods Strategic Decisions|
Critical Strategic Milestones
* Whole Foods Market founded in 1980 with 19 employees. (History, 2012 :1) * Whole Foods Market goes public on January 23rd, 1992. (History, 2012 :1) * In 1996 Whole Foods Markets acquires Fresh Field Markets picking up 22 stores located on the east coast and Chicago area for 4.8 million shares of common stock and an option for 549,000 additional shares. (Thompson, 2010; C-13) * In response to price competition from other large grocers Whole Foods launches its 365 Everyday Value product line in 1997. (Thompson, 2010; c-19) * In 1998 Whole Foods Market was name as of FORTUNE MAGAZINE’S top 100 best companies to work for. (History, 2012 :1) * In May, 2002 the company opens its first store outside of the United States in Toronto. (History, 2012 :1) * June, 2003 Whole Foods Market becomes the first certified organic grocer in the United States. (History, 2012 :1) * In 2004 they expand into Great Britain by acquiring seven stores from Fresh & Wild for $20 million cash and 239,000 shares of common stock. (Thompson, 2010; C-13) * October 2005 they launch the Whole Planet Foundation, a not-for-profit aimed at combating poverty and teaching sustainability in third world countries. One of the important programs they also offer is micro-lending to aid small farmers and business owners in start-ups, sustainability, and growth. (History, 2012 :1) * In 2007 they purchase Wild Oats Natural Marketplace for $700 million. They acquired 109 stores in the purchase, but quickly sold 34 of them for $166 million. (Thompson, 2010; C-13) * In 2008 Whole Foods scales back its expansion program in response to the economic down turn. They restructured their new stores to reduce the square footage by an average of 12,000 square feet. (Thompson, 2010; C-14) * 2009 Whole Foods is the first supermarket certified under the Green Globes Program. They are recognized by Scientific Magazine as one of America’s “Top 25 Green Energy Leaders”. (History, 2012 :1) * By January 2010 the company operates 289 stores across the Unites States, Canada, and Great Britain. (Thompson, 2010; C-6) Strategic Leadership Analysis:
Source: (Marketline, 2012:4)
Unique: Since 1980 when Whole Foods was founded they have evolved into the natural and organic food retailer that we know them as today. This evolution fit the niche required by forward thinking consumers looking for a better alternative. At the end of their 30 year evolution, they became the leader of the natural and organic food movement. Future Oriented: The whole and organic food market has been a slow growing niche in the foods market since the early 1980’s. Whole Foods decided then to capitalize on this. They began as a single store with 19 employees. Since going public in 1991, Whole Foods has been looking forward. A strategy of continued growth has been the main driver here. Growth has been achieved mainly through acquisitions mostly in the earlier history of the company, and some new development. However, after a difficult acquisition of the Wild Oats Company, a major competitor at the time, the growth strategy was shifted away from acquisitions and solely to opening new stores. Organization Wide: Whole Foods has adopted a simple Mission that states “Whole Foods, Whole People, Whole Planet”. This is socially and environmentally responsible in that it is looking for the best quality product to sell to consumers and looking for sustainable growers to provide the products in a manner that does not damage the environment. To do this Whole Foods adopted a set of core values for the organization and its workforce. Employees take pride in “walking the talk” of the mission and the core values. The case refers to Whole Foods crediting their successes on their ability to simultaneously fulfill the needs of customers,...