Following the release of its first quarter financial report for fiscal 2017, Whole Foods announced that it will be closing stores for the first time in 2008.
John Mackey, a Co-Founder and current CEO, said that Whole Foods considered rebranding some of the closing nine locations into its recently-launched 365 format but that the move wasn’t a practical one, according to the Chicago Tribune.
"We cleaned up the stores we needed to clean up for the time being, and we're looking forward to moving forward," Mackey said. The executive stated in a conference call that shuttering the nine stores will help boost profits and comparable sales, and that while the retailer has also cut back on its ambitious growth plan of reaching 1,200 locations it does still have more than 80 stores in the pipeline.
The Whole Foods store in Boulder and in Colorado Springs, two stores in California, one each in Chicago, New Mexico, Utah, Arizona, and Georgia will all close by April 9.
The news reportedly received a warm reception for those on Wall Street, with stock reportedly gained 2 percent to $29.91 at 10:02 a.m. in New York on Thursday following the news.
Investors seem to desire the retailer’s streamlining rather than pursuing growth; speculations have circled that a top investor is looking to take on the chain and calling for a number of changes in leadership and direction.
Highlights of the Whole Foods first quarter included:
“In this increasingly competitive marketplace, we are committed to taking every step necessary to improve comps and deliver higher returns for our shareholders,” said Mackey in the financial report. “To this end, we are refining our growth strategy, refocusing our efforts on best serving our core customers, and moving faster to fully implement category management. Evolving our purchasing operating model while developing data-rich, customer-centric category management capabilities is critical to our go-forward merchandising, pricing, marketing and affinity strategies."
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