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About Whole Foods Market, Inc.

Whole Foods Market is the world's largest natural foods grocery chain. Founded in 1980, it pioneered the supermarket concept in natural and organic foods retailing. The company operates some 500 stores throughout the US, Canada, and the UK, and focuses on organic perishable and prepared products. It sells private-label items through its 365 Organic Everyday Value and Allegro Coffee lines, among others, and offers a variety of non-GMO, vegan, and gluten-free foods. Whole Foods was acquired by Amazon.com for $13.7 billion in 2017.

Change in Company Type

Whole Foods Market accepted Amazon.com's $13.7 billion offer in June 2017. Under Amazon's wing, the grocer gained resources to adjust its business model to adapt to rising competition from Kroger, Walmart, and other grocery chains. With Whole Foods, Amazon got a well-known name brand as part of its efforts to expand into the grocery market.

Operations

Prior to being acquired by Amazon, Whole Foods operated in two segments -- perishables and non-perishables. Perishables accounted for about two-thirds of sales; prepared foods and bakery was its largest individual category at about 20% of total sales. Non-perishables contributed the rest.

In addition to traditional Whole Foods Market stores, the company operates about a dozen smaller, value-format locations under the Whole Foods Market 365 banner. The company has no plans to open any more of those locations, instead choosing to focus on the core Whole Foods Market concept.

United Natural Foods is Whole Foods' single largest third-party supplier, accounting for about a third of its total purchases.

Geographic Reach

Although you can find a Whole Foods store in nearly every US state, more than 30% of its units are located in California, Texas, and Massachusetts. It also has around 20 stores in Canada and the UK. Prior to being acquired by Amazon, Whole Foods rang up less than 5% of its sales outside the US.

Headquartered in Austin, Texas, Whole Foods has regional offices in California (2), Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Texas, and Washington, as well as in London. It has a produce and floral procurement office in California. Subsidiary Allegro Coffee is located in Colorado.

Strategy

After it acquired Whole Foods, Amazon began a plan to eradicate the store's "whole paycheck" reputation by lowering prices on several items nationwide. The grocer's merchandise was incorporated into Amazon's e-commerce platform and Amazon Prime became part of Whole Foods' rewards program. Amazon updated its logistics and merchandising operations with the goal of lowering prices even further. In addition, it installed Amazon Lockers in select Whole Foods locations, allowing shoppers to pick up and return online orders from Amazon.com.

However, in late 2018 the grocer raised prices on hundreds of items, citing increased operating costs on the supply side. Whole Foods tempered those price increases by reiterating its plans to continue lowering prices and offer more promotions where possible. And although Amazon doesn't break out Whole Foods' financial performance, it does appear that its brick-and-mortar operations are a slight drag on its online operations. The grocer will likely need to continue lowering prices and opening new stores to create the volume that will boost its parent's earnings.

In 2018, Whole Foods expanded its Prime Now delivery and pickup services to additional locations, with plans to continue expansion across the US. Delivery is available in more than 60 cities and grocery pickup is available in more than a dozen cities. As the company expands its own grocery-delivery operations, it ended its partnership with Instacart in early 2019. Instacart had been delivering groceries for Whole Foods since 2014. 

Responding to its health-conscious clientele, Whole Foods pledged that by 2018 all products in its stores in North America would be labeled to indicate if they contain GMOs. That pledge was amended in 2018: The grocer will not promote a product as non-GMO unless it has been verified by a third party.

Company Background

Whole Foods was incorporated in 1978. The company opened its first store in 1980.

During the 1990s, the company acquired other grocers and food establishments including Wellspring Grocery, Mrs. Gooch's, Fresh Fields, Bread of Life, and Merchant of Vino. It acquired national grocer Wild Oats Markets in 2007

The company was acquired by Amazon.com in 2017.

Whole Foods Market, Inc.

550 BOWIE ST
Austin, TX 78703-4644
Phone: 1 (512) 477-4455

Stats

Employer Type: Publicly Owned
Chairman: John B. Elstrott
President and COO: A. C. Gallo
CEO: John P. Mackey
Employees (This Location): 160
Employees (All Locations): 89,000

Major Office Locations

Austin, TX

Other Locations

Mobile, AL
Mountain Brk, AL
Little Rock, AR
Chandler, AZ
Flagstaff, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Tempe, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Berkeley, CA
Capitola, CA
El Segundo, CA
Folsom, CA
Glendale, CA
Irvine, CA
Laguna Beach, CA
Laguna Niguel, CA
Long Beach, CA
Los Angeles, CA
Mountain View, CA
Napa, CA
Oakland, CA
Oxnard, CA
Pasadena, CA
Playa Vista, CA
Richmond, CA
Roseville, CA
San Francisco, CA
Santa Barbara, CA
Santa Clara, CA
Santa Cruz, CA
Santa Monica, CA
Sonoma, CA
Tarzana, CA
Venice, CA
Boulder, CO
Denver, CO
Lakewood, CO
Longmont, CO
Superior, CO
Westminster, CO
Cheshire, CT
Danbury, CT
Darien, CT
Fairfield, CT
Glastonbury, CT
Milford, CT
West Hartford, CT
Westport, CT
Washington, DC
Boca Raton, FL
Clearwater, FL
Destin, FL
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Jacksonville, FL
Miami, FL
Miami Beach, FL
Naples, FL
North Miami, FL
Orlando, FL
Palm Beach Gardens, FL
Pembroke Pines, FL
Pompano Beach, FL
Sarasota, FL
South Miami, FL
Tallahassee, FL
Tampa, FL
Wellington, FL
West Palm Beach, FL
Winter Park, FL
Alpharetta, GA
Atlanta, GA
Braselton, GA
Duluth, GA
Kennesaw, GA
Savannah, GA
Honolulu, HI
Kahului, HI
Kailua, HI
Chicago, IL
Evanston, IL
Hinsdale, IL
Itasca, IL
Naperville, IL
Northbrook, IL
Park Ridge, IL
Schaumburg, IL
Wheaton, IL
Carmel, IN
Indianapolis, IN
Mishawaka, IN
Schererville, IN
Olathe, KS
Overland Park, KS
Lexington, KY
Louisville, KY
Baton Rouge, LA
Lafayette, LA
Mandeville, LA
Metairie, LA
New Orleans, LA
Andover, MA
Boston, MA
Brookline, MA
Charlestown, MA
Dedham, MA
Hingham, MA
Hyannis, MA
Jamaica Plain, MA
Lynnfield, MA
Marlborough, MA
Medford, MA
Swampscott, MA
Wellesley, MA
Westford, MA
Woburn, MA
Annapolis, MD
Columbia, MD
Portland, ME
Ann Arbor, MI
East Lansing, MI
Maple Grove, MN
Minnetonka, MN
Kansas City, MO
Town And Country, MO
Jackson, MS
Magee, MS
Asheville, NC
Charlotte, NC
Morrisville, NC
Raleigh, NC
Wilmington, NC
Lincoln, NE
Omaha, NE
Bedford, NH
Nashua, NH
Bound Brook, NJ
Closter, NJ
Edgewater, NJ
Englewood Cliffs, NJ
Englishtown, NJ
Metuchen, NJ
Newark, NJ
Northvale, NJ
Paramus, NJ
Red Bank, NJ
Vauxhall, NJ
Wall Township, NJ
West Orange, NJ
Albuquerque, NM
Henderson, NV
Las Vegas, NV
Reno, NV
Albany, NY
Amherst, NY
Brooklyn, NY
Lake Grove, NY
New York, NY
Cincinnati, OH
Cleveland, OH
Columbus, OH
Dayton, OH
Mason, OH
Rocky River, OH
Oklahoma City, OK
Tulsa, OK
Bend, OR
Hillsboro, OR
Portland, OR
Tigard, OR
Allentown, PA
Glen Mills, PA
Malvern, PA
Philadelphia, PA
Pittsburgh, PA
Plymouth Meeting, PA
Wexford, PA
Columbia, SC
Hilton Head Island, SC
Chattanooga, TN
Franklin, TN
Germantown, TN
Memphis, TN
Nashville, TN
Austin, TX
Cedar Park, TX
Dallas, TX
El Paso, TX
Fort Worth, TX
Highland Village, TX
Houston, TX
Irving, TX
Lockhart, TX
Mc Kinney, TX
San Antonio, TX
Spring, TX
Sugar Land, TX
Cottonwood Heights, UT
Park City, UT
Salt Lake City, UT
Arlington, VA
Fairfax, VA
Glen Allen, VA
Virginia Beach, VA
Austin, WA
Bellevue, WA
Brooklyn, WA
Chicago, WA
Redmond, WA
Riverdale, WA
Saint Paul, WA
Seattle, WA
Shrewsbury, WA
Vancouver, WA
Milwaukee, WI
North York, Canada
Oakville, Canada
Toronto, Canada
Vancouver, Canada