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Whole Foods Strategic Audit

Robert Harper Andrew Pequinot Taylor Tisdale Renee Werner

MBA 8820 Professor Denis Grégoire

April 18, 2006

Executive Summary – Whole Foods Strategic Audit Whole Foods Market competes successfully within the organic/natural foods industry, having enjoyed close to 19% growth over the past five years. As a point of comparison, Kroger – a traditional supermarket operator – only grew 4%. On a larger scale, the organic food retail industry in the U.S. has fared well in the last decade. Reported sales grew 23.4%, which is much more than the 3.3% growth of the overall food industry during the same time period. However, a recent announcement from a Whole Foods competitor recently sparked considerable buzz in the industry and put a mild dent in Whole Foods Market stock price. The announcement came from the industry giant Wal-Mart who unveiled its plan to more than double its organic offerings and begin marketing to more upscale clientele, many of who currently shop at Whole Foods. Wal-Mart is well known for squeezing supplier margins to bring “everyday low prices” to consumers. As the industry leader in several retail categories, including traditional grocery sales, Wal-Mart has the size and influence to significantly impact the organic food landscape if it dedicates itself to the market. Although Wal-Mart’s impact on the natural niche remains to be seen, it’s critical that Whole Foods review its strategy in light of Wal-Mart’s entry. Whole Foods’ advantage comes from offering both high quality and a wide variety of organic products. It also excels at delivering an inviting shopping experience for its customers. Because of these high-value offerings, Whole Foods sets its prices in the premium range. Our concern with Wal-Mart entering the market is that the overall price range of organic foods may decrease, resulting in customers...

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