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Streamlining Strategy Is A Tricky One For Whole Foods Market

February 14, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Whole Foods Market is tightening the reins on its local and regional managers to reduce costs and ward off intense competition from Kroger and Costco, which have advanced successfully into the organic and natural foods segment, often charging lower prices. From the beginning, Whole Foods has tried to operate with a local slant, giving managers leeway in the choice of specialty offerings. But the streamlining initiative – which could also include discounting – will mean shifting more responsibility for buying packaged foods, detergents and other nonperishable items to its Texas headquarters, and relying more on software to simplify scheduling staff and replenishing shelves. The move may damage  its customer-friendly reputation and peeve shoppers who prefer local products The difficult strategy, Co-CEO John Mackey acknowledges, is to eliminate “redundancy and waste” and boost stock value, without destroying a unique culture.
Ilan Brat, "Whole Foods Works to Reduce Costs and Boost Clout With Suppliers", The Wall Street Journal, February 14, 2016, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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