forces. Retaliation by incumbent competitors is an important element in determining the threat of new entry. Specifically, Whole Foods faces a threat from conventional supermarkets and mass merchandisers who may move to carry organic products within their stores.
This results from the fact that it is a mature segment with many well established companies vying for market share. The industry is highly consolidated and very fragmented. To grow their businesses, companies rely heavily on mergers and acquisitions to capture additional market share. Historically, the grocery industry has been characterized by slow growth which results in strong price competition and the development of aggressive marketing campaigns between existing firms. Perceived product quality and strong brand recognition by consumers are the basis of competition among firms in the industry. The source of General Mills’ competitive advantage lies in its ability to develop innovative products and highly reputable brands. As a result, they hold cost leadership positions across a number of grocery categories. Exhibit 1 shows the top US companies according to their sale of packaged foods globally. Market leaders include Kraft Foods, PepsiCo, Nestle, Mars, Kellogg, and General Mills, however, neither company possess an overwhelming share of global sales. This is in part due to the large degree of product diversity throughout the industry and the strong brand rivalry of each competitor’s labels.
Stiff competition within the industry would be one of the key threats that Whole Foods will face. Strong competitors, coupled with grocery stores that have incorporated natural food sections into the stores, have made it more challenging for Whole Foods to maintain its pole position in the market. As the market for organic foods expands rapidly, mainstream supermarkets are also competing for a slice of the pie. Strict government regulations and the lack of prime locations have made it more
A weakness that Whole Foods have is their reputation. A reputation for a grocer is key to its survival and they have the reputation of being very expensive or some call it “whole paycheck.”
Whole Foods Market is probably the world leader in retailing natural and organic foods, with over 433 stores in North America and the United Kingdom (Whole Foodsmarket.com). With a commitment to provide the highest quality of natural and organic foods at competitive prices; they steadily continue to expand globally. This paper will provide some insight on the advantages and disadvantages of perhaps why we should invest in this company’s stock.
Trader Joe's faces several threats to its business, as competitors try to invade the company’s niche and attempt to imitate the company’s core strategies. The supermarket industry itself faces a major threat, as larger chains such as grocery retailers Wal-Mart and Tesco have begun to open small-format stores that mimic the Trader Joe's approach. This invasion results in additional cost pressure for incumbents like Trader Joe’s, which had to let go employees in order to become more cost competitive.
Continuing with a food retailer, Greggs or a restaurant will want to get fresher ingredients than other retailers so that they can make sure they produce all of their products to be as fresh as can be. This can be done for example by Gregg’s own in-store bakeries having their ingredients delivered in the morning and then they bake them the same morning to make sure they are as fresh as possible. When they order the ingredients from the producers they will have to check that the supplier is storing the produce correctly before purchasing, otherwise they may purchase products that could be unsuitable for them to use and if they did use them, could create problems for them in the future. A good example of this could be
Every retail location carries a variety of products that distinguishes it from other stores in the same chain. Not surprisingly, it is difficult to achieve economies of scale. Supply Chain Mackey describes his consumers as being “part of a cult”. Whole Foods believes that the company’s emphasis on perishables and locally-sourced produce differentiates their stores from run-of-the-mill supermarkets and attracts loyal and devoted customers. However, “fresh produce” is one of the most challenging product categories to operate due to limited product shelf life and high cost of spoilage. Whole Foods has tried to circumvent most of the problems inherent in supplying fresh produce to its stores by sourcing locally and having short and flexible supply chains. In the case of fruits and vegetables, Whole Foods has buying relationships with local farmers who supply the store with seasonal produce. Thus, if one farmer is unable to produce a sufficient amount of yellow corn or heirloom tomatoes, the shortfall can be made up by another farmer. Although challenging to perfect, these short supply chains are agile and difficult for other big retailers to duplicate.
Kudler’s Fine Foods has competitors, such as Corti Brothers, Whole Foods, and other major grocery store chains that have loyal consumer bases. Each company has dealing in the grocery store industry, but target different markets. Chains like Walmart Supercenters or Winn-Dixie have different goods and service made available to new consumers, which have taken over the grocery store market. For example, organic goods, buyer programs and slashed prices are offered at these stores causing consumers to flock to locations. Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s among others, offer natural and organic foods and varieties of produce, which is in direct competition with Kudler’s (Whole Foods, 2009). Kudler’s products can match the quality standards of its competitors.
This monopolistic competition market structure has a positive effect on Kudler because it allows Kudler and their speciality foods to carve out a niche that the competition will find it hard to enter. Kudler’s market strategy (locations and unique products) should be very effective in keeping out potential competitors and establish a large barrier to competitor entry. Since Kudler’s stores are located in areas with limited populations the ability of competitors to gain entry into their market is limited. Since competitors cannot enter their markets, Kudler should experience long-term profitability providing they keep their customers happy.
The Whole Foods (WF) annual report for 2010 states “Our growth strategy is to expand primarily through new store openings. We have a disciplined, opportunistic real estate strategy, opening stores in existing trade areas as well as new areas, including international locations. Our new stores typically are located on premium real estate sites and range in size between 35,000 and 50,000 square feet which we believe is appropriate in most circumstances to maximize return on invested capital and Economic Value Added (“EVA®”). Our growth strategy includes opening new stores in existing and new areas and operating those stores successfully.” (Flanagan, G. 2010). This means they are growing and spreading their wings out into a large variety of regions. The report also stated in order to meet those goals “many of our competitors went back and forth on their pricing strategies, we stayed true to our goal of offering a clear value choice in every department through compelling prices on known value items, as well as targeted pricing and promotional strategies” (Flanagan, G. 2010).
Whole Foods has been adaptive in fitting its competitive strategy to its situation. The store first grew to prominence by being a stylish antithesis to the crunchy mom-and-pop organic grocery stores, providing a relatively normal but
Marketed as ‘America’s healthiest grocery store’ the company has successfully grown to 408 stores across the world with sales of $14 billion in 2014 (Whole Foods Market, 2015). The firm is positioned as an upmarket grocery due to the emphasis on natural, organic origins, and as a result are able to charge a premium for their products. Through efficiently running its operations and stores, Whole Foods are able to maintain healthy 4.02% profit margins (Financial Times, 2015) and operating margins well above the American grocery store industry average at 6.58% (Bloomberg, 2015). Looking at 2015’s quarter 1 figures it is clear to see that Whole Foods have had a hugely successful year with sales of $4.7 billion, up 10% from the same period last year. Furthermore, they opened 9 new stores and have signed a further 11 new leases.
Whole Foods Market has expanded by a mixture of opening its own new stores and acquiring already existing stores. Today WFM does not follow this strategy, instead their motivation is to open its own large stores. This is due to noticeable sales differences in larger stores as opposed to smaller stores. WFM locates these newer stores in upscale areas of urban metropolitan centers and high-traffic shopping locations. Not all WFMs are isolated structures; some are located in strip malls. WFM offers a larger selection of natural and organic foods than any other grocery store. WFMs marketing expenditure is extremely small. They spend a measly 0.5% of their revenues on advertising. Their chief marketing strategy relies on word-of-mouth. WFM strives to meet or exceed customer expectations. This is so customers receive competent, knowledgeable, and friendly service and become advocates of WFM. The employees here have a decentralized team approach for store operations. This is so some personnel, merchandising, and operating
Whole Foods Market began in 1970 as a local supermarket. Over the past 31 years, Whole Foods Market has grown from a single store in Austin, Texas, to becoming one of the worldwide leaders in providing consumers with natural and organic foods. They have grown to over 300 stores in both North America and the United Kingdom. (Whole Foods Market, Inc., 2011) This report examines the chief elements of the strategy that Whole Foods Market has put into place. Also, it uses past financial data to provide an assessment of the condition of the company going forward. Those assessments include recommendations of future actions, along with concerns I have about the way the company is currently operating and some difficulties that may be on the way.