You know what they say about Whole Foods. When you go there, you have to use your "Whole Paycheck." Well, hopefully that won't be true much longer, since the chain is working on lowering prices so more people can shop there.
Grubstreet reports that Whole Foods CEO John Mackey has an executive from Target helping with this goal. Part of what will make this possible is a more limited selection of products in-store. Currently, Whole Foods stores carry anywhere from 35,000 to 52,000 items, and this number will have to decrease to make room for more national brands, which can be more affordable.
Some worry this will take a bit of the charm away from the grocery chain, which many think earns its loyal customers because of its ability to offer a wider selection of products not found anywhere else. Mackey says that the idea is to strike a balance between the local items and the national items. This way, prices can be lower overall.
According to Market Watch, this effort comes after the store's longest stretch of same-store sales declines since 1992. With the health food trend growing, you'd think that Whole Foods would be doing especially well; however, bigger chain stores that are known to be more affordable, such as Kroger and Albertson's, have eaten into the profit Whole Foods could have gained by this trend. These grocery stores are offering a larger selection of organic and natural foods than they once did, and they're offering these products at lower costs. Sure, they may not have the selection Whole Foods has, but the price difference makes up for that.
Mackey says that the Whole Foods culture is "still very unique," and that "What Whole Foods needs to do is to take the best ideas of the traditional supermarket industry and integrate them into our company."
This could prove successful for the chain, which will likely bring in more business if it can lose that pesky "Whole Paycheck" reputation. I know many, myself included, who go to Whole Foods for select items, then go to other stores like Trader Joe's for everything else because it's cheaper. I probably speak for most of us when I say it would be great to get all of our shopping done in one place!