- Company to open new chain's first store in Los Angeles in May
- Smaller grocery rivals are doing a ‘nice job,’ Co-CEO says
Whole Foods Market Inc. Co-Chief Executive Officer Walter Robb, seeking to appeal to younger, budget-conscious shoppers, says his company’s new 365 chain is going to try some tactics outside of the conventional grocery-store playbook.
Whole Foods has advertised that it’s looking to find suppliers and vendors to set up shop in its 365 stores through a program called "Friends of 365." The new chain’s website says shoppers may see other businesses, such as body-care product sellers, record shops and tattoo parlors, inside 365 stores and on its outdoor patios.
The new locations will help Whole Foods "reach more communities than we would be able to with our mother ship," Robb said during an interview on Bloomberg TV.
Whole Foods on Wednesday boosted its full-year earnings forecast, saying an improved cost structure and lower prices are fueling results. Still, same-store sales dropped 1.8 percent in the most recent quarter as American millennials flock to cheaper natural-goods sellers, such as Trader Joe’s, Sprouts Farmers Market Inc. and even Wal-Mart Stores Inc. The first 365 by Whole Foods Market location will open in May in Los Angeles. Others are scheduled to open this year in Oregon and Washington.
"There’s a number of smaller-store competitors out there that are doing a nice job," he said. "We don’t see any reason why we can’t go participate in that part of the market as well with our 365 by Whole Foods offer -- it’s going to be unique."