Whole Foods Market said last week it's closing select stores after posting its sixth straight quarter of same-store sales declines. The company will be closing nine stores and its last two remaining commissary kitchens in the current quarter. It also terminated two leases. Reportedly, the majority of the stores slated for closure were smaller, older acquisitions and Whole Foods said that shuttering them should improve results.
Total Retail's Take: It's no surprise that Whole Foods is closing stores. It has been battling intense competition from rivals that include Kroger Co. and Wal-Mart Stores, as well as new online competitors such as Amazon.com and meal kit delivery service Blue Apron. Closing stores isn't Whole Foods only approach to battling competition, however. For example, it has been lowering prices and experimenting with its value-oriented 365 by WholeFoods Market chain, as it tries to shed its unflattering "Whole Paycheck" nickname. Whole Foods is also making an effort to focus on its loyal customers, recently teaming with dunnhumby, a private, wholly owned consumer data subsidiary of Tesco, in a bid to catch up with Kroger and other rivals that already use such information to improve merchandising and personalization offers to loyal customers.