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Whole Foods Streamlines Operations, But At What Price?

April 16, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Whole Foods Market needs to make some changes in how it operates to reverse same-store sales declines and keep investors happy. Specifically, says Jana Partners LLC, it needs to boost profit by switching to a centralized food distribution system and national buyers, like the big-box retailers. Innovations – data analytics, centralized purchasing, strict shelf management – implemented by a former Target exec are designed to streamline operations enough to cut costs, lower prices, and make it competitive with other retailers. But the company’s smaller suppliers, along with some industry consultants, argue that a change like that would compromise the company’s ability to quickly stock foodie trends and popular local brands. The changes may reduce costs, says one consultant, “but at what price to the soul of the banner?”  [Image Credit: © Whole Foods Market ]
Annie Gasparro et al., "Whole Foods Aims to Cut Prices but Keep Its Cachet", The Wall Street Journal, April 16, 2017, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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