Whole Foods plans big moves in burgeoning grocery delivery game

Jul 31, 2014
Austin Business Journal

Whole Foods Market Inc. officials, coming off of consecutive quarters that have disappointed investors, said Wednesday that the company plans to make a major announcement in September that could see the company stake a larger claim in the burgeoning, digital-driven grocery delivery industry


The news, hinted at by Whole Foods' Co-CEO Walter Robb during a conference call with analysts, is part of a larger strategy to better communicate with customers who may have stopped shopping at the organic grocer, or those who have not yet set foot inside a Whole Foods (Nasdaq: WFM) due to the company's perceived "Whole Paycheck" reputation


Whole Foods tops the Austin Business Journal list of the area's largest public companies based on 2013 revenue. It has more than 78,000 employees


Besides its announcement about expanded delivery and pickup options in early September, Robb said the company will also introduce a new mobile app, though officials on the call said that no launch date has been set


Whole Foods already partners with some online, mobile-app-based grocery delivery companies such as Instacart here in Austin and other markets


A.C. Gallo, president and chief operating officer for Whole Foods, also expanded upon the company's experiments with price reductions in certain key product categories, highlighting notable success in lowering prices on perishables


Responding to investor concerns about sluggish comparable-store sales among the company's older locations, Robb also noted that Whole Foods planned to refurbish as many as 200 of its older stores in the coming years in an effort to boost sales


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