With Whole Foods new banner 365 slated to premier in the second half of 2016, Co-CEO's John Mackey and Walter Robb were happy to address questions that have been raised about whether this new focus on the millennial consumer will help or hurt the traditional Whole Foods format with the upmost confidence.
The Co-CEOs discussed the opportunities the new venture will present during the Morgan Stanley Global Consumer and Retail Conference.
“One thing about business is that you have to be willing to question your own business model because your competitors will,” Robb said when asked if he worried that this new venture would cannibalize Whole Foods. “If you’re not willing to disrupt yourself and take apart your own business model, others will. That being said, I think the new 365 banner will actually accelerate Whole Foods Market.”
Mackey added that the team views the situation as more of an “and” than an “or” that will add to Whole Foods’ reach.
“365 may well serve as a gateway for Whole Foods, with the ability to go where Whole Foods couldn’t otherwise go,” he said.
Currently, the retailer has already signed off on 114 sites to debut the banner, each averaging a format of 43,000 square-feet, with more on the way.
“365 is an opportunity for us to take that banner and make Whole Foods more accessible to various communities,” Robb said, adding that they will continue to invest in the new banner and sign off on new sites with a minimum of five years to grow.
Though the executives said that the new format is much more driven by millennial trends and demands, they added it "seems to be an upset for boomers and exers, but they can come too!"
Mackey and Robb also revealed that the goal is to be less labor-intensive, with more technology and self-service incorporated, but for the most part we will have to see it to believe it.
“It’s going to be so much clearer once we get the stores open,” Mackey said, adding that he is confident that many will say that this newest approach is a great idea after seeing it. “365 is taking the best elements of competitors and Whole Foods and putting it in a very compelling package.”
Going forward, both expressed optimism in the opportunities 365 will open up for Whole Foods, as well as the availability for growth that the current market presents.
DeliMarket News will continue to keep you up to date as the reveal approaches, so stay tuned.