Amid growing competition in the organic market and slumping sales, Whole Foods Market Inc. announced Wednesday that it will shrink the size of its chain.
Whole Foods will shutter nine locations, negating its planned six store openings (including two relocations) and resulting in decrease in the number of stores for the first time since 2008's recession. The company also says it will no longer push its growth plans and will instead focus on corralling expenses.
Wednesday's news marked the sixth consecutive quarter of slumping same-store sales for the company. Whole Foods rose to power with its organic offerings, but the arrival of big box retailers like Wal-Mart, Kroger and others into the organics market has been bad news for the Austin-based retailer. Whole Foods announced $300 million in cost cuts last year after seeing its advantage in the organics market slip away.According to Bloomberg, Whole Foods shares are down 43 percent in the last two years. Whole Foods also said it doesn't expect sales at established stores to recover in 2017, hence its walking away from plans to add 1,200 stores across the country. The company is now more likely to instead focus on its lower-priced 365 by Whole Foods stores.