Whole Foods Market, Inc. (Whole Foods Market or 'the company') is a natural and organic foods supermarket chain that operates through several wholly owned subsidiaries. The company's supermarkets are located in the US, Canada and the UK. It is headquartered in Austin, Texas and employs 64,200 people, of which 13,300 are part-time employees and 2,700 are temporary employees. The company recorded revenues of $10,107.8 million during the financial year ended September 2011 (FY2011), an increase of 12.2% over FY2010. The operating profit of the company was $547.6 million in FY2011, an increase of 25% over FY2010. The net profit was $342.6 million in FY2011, an increase of 42.5% over FY2010.
Whole Foods gives back to the community. They have created such charitable organizations as Whole Planet Foundation® and Whole Kids Foundation™.
The company is environmentally friendly and has a Green Mission®. Over the years, Whole Foods has purchased over 4.3 billion megawatt hours of wind-based renewable energy, earning six Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) Green Power awards from 2004 through 2010.
Whole Foods has a focused growth strategy focusing on expansion, primarily through new store openings in existing trade areas as well as new areas, including international locations. During FY2011 and FY2010, the company opened 18 and 16 new stores, respectively. The company opened six stores in the first quarter of FY2012 and expects to open three stores in the second quarter. There is a brand new store opening up in my area, Orland Park, IL in December, 2012.
Whole Foods has a strong social media presence. Their Twitter account has just under 3 million followers and their Facebook page has over a million likes.
97% of Whole Food’s sales are from the United States. Whole Foods needs to diversify more internationally.
Whole Food’s products have higher prices than regular grocery stores like Publix or Kroger.
Whole Foods has long-term lease obligations. The majority of their stores, distribution centers, bake-houses and administrative facilities are leased. Whole Food’s is subject to risks associated with their current and future real estate leases. Their costs could increase because of changes in the real estate markets and supply or demand for real estate sites. Whole Food’s generally cannot cancel their leases, so if they decide to close a location, they may nonetheless be committed to perform obligations under the applicable lease including paying the base rent for the remaining lease term. As each lease expires, they may fail to negotiate renewals, either on commercially acceptable terms or any terms at all. As of September 25, 2011, Whole Food’s had 20 leased properties that are not being utilized in current operations. These properties represent acquired dormant locations, stores closed post-acquisition, and stores closed due to relocation.
Product recalls affecting Whole Food’s brand image. The company has recalled several products owing to contamination. For instance, in January 2012, they recalled certain Whole Foods Market Dairy Free bakery products because they contain milk which is not declared on the labels. In November 2010, Whole Foods Market of Austin, Texas recalled seven types of cheddar cheese over the possible risk of E. coli or listeria contamination. Earlier in 2009, the Whole Foods Carob Energee Nuggets were recalled by the company due to potential Salmonella contamination. Also in the same year, the company announced the voluntary recall of its 365 Everyday Value brand in-shell Dry Roasted and Salted Pistachios due to the potential salmonella contamination. Prior to that, in 2008,...