Whole Foods Plans to Bring Millennial-Focused Store to BrooklynBy
Retailer is counting on new chain to help reinvigorate growth
Company faces more competition from mainstream supermarkets
Whole Foods Market Inc., the organic grocer mired in its worst sales slump in at least a decade, is bringing its new 365 store concept to Brooklyn.
The Austin, Texas-based company said it has signed a lease to open one of the stores in the New York borough’s Fort Greene neighborhood, not far from the Barclays Center. Officially known as “365 by Whole Foods Market,” the stores are cheaper to build and operate than a traditional location and offer lower-priced items aimed at younger shoppers.
Whole Foods, stung for years by its reputation for being overpriced, launched the smaller-store format last year to go after millennial shoppers. The new concept, named for the company’s private-label brand, was designed to help the retailer compete in an era when organic food is now widely available at supermarkets. Whole Foods sales have dropped for five straight quarters amid steep competition from mainstream grocers, including Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Kroger Co.
In November, Whole Foods co-founder John Mackey took back sole management of the company, ending a dual-CEO role that he shared with Walter Robb for six years. In addition to trying to draw in new customers with the 365 stores, Whole Foods is streamlining some of its operations to keep costs down.
The Brooklyn location would be the first 365 store in the Northeast. There are currently three of them on the West Coast, with the original store in Los Angeles. The company has an additional 20 in development, including a Texas location that will open in April.