Though Whole Foods Market is expanding its footprint like many retailers in the market, the brick-and-mortar stores that are opening are a little different from the organic grocer's typical format. In early April, Amazon and Whole Foods revealed a unique strategy that included transforming the latter’s locations into dark stores for rising online grocery and delivery needs—a strategy Whole Foods is now expanding to more locations across its portfolio.
“With stay-at-home orders in place, customers have generated unprecedented demand for grocery delivery,” a spokesperson for Whole Foods Market disclosed to news source Fox Business. “As we navigate the challenges associated with COVID-19, we continue to find ways to increase delivery availability while navigating safety measures and social distancing.”
When this dark-store strategy was first rolled out, only one Whole Foods location in Woodland Hills, California, was transformed into a “temporary online-only store.” This week, however, the grocer converted five additional locations in New York City, New York; San Francisco, California; Baltimore, Maryland; Austin, Texas; and Castle Rock, Colorado, with a store in Chicago, Illinois, in the works as well. Of these stores, the Castle Rock and Baltimore locations are brand new.
Will more of Whole Foods Market's footprint be converted to this online-only model? And will other retailers adopt this model? When it comes to the latest movements in the grocery retail and specialty food industry, Deli Market News will continue to report.