Company: Whole Foods Market, Inc.
Company Description: Whole Foods Market is the world's largest retailer of natural and organic foods, with stores throughout North America and the United Kingdom. It seeks out the finest natural and organic foods available, maintains the strictest quality standards in the industry, and has an unshakeable commitment to sustainable agriculture.
Nomination Category: Company / Organization Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Business Turnaround of the Year - More Than 2,500 Employees
Nomination Title: Whole Food Markets
Tell the story about what this nominated company achieved since January 1 2010 (up to 500 words). Focus on specific accomplishments, and relate these accomplishments to past performance or industry norms. Be sure to mention obstacles overcome, innovations or discoveries made, and outcomes:
By making changes such as cutting costs, reducing staff and slowing expansion early after the recession hit the US, Whole Foods has managed to ride out the storm and entered a period of sharp recovery. At the same time as reviewing its own fiscal discipline it made moves to deliver more value to its customers in a climate where spending on luxury goods had lost its fashionable status.
This strategy is bearing fruit. After seven straight quarters of declining
profits, Whole Foods has recovered sharply over the last several months. Most
recently, in the fiscal Q1, profits rose 60% vs. the prior year to 32 cents a
share, sailing past views. Sales grew 7% to $2.6 billion. Same-store sales rose
3.5% vs. a year earlier.
The company has fared better than expected, says analyst Scott Van Winkle of
Canaccord Adams. "I didn't anticipate how strong they would recover and how well
they could manage their gross margins," he said. "They've done a bang-up job of
managing earnings better through tighter cost controls and their ability to
deliver a better value proposition to a strained consumer."
One of those initiatives was the "Whole Deal" in-store guide that features "365
Everyday Value" product deals, coupons, money-saving tips and budget recipes.
Also, upon request, stores offer value tours where team members help you find
good deals. The company has taken advantage of lower costs in certain areas,
such as produce, to pass through good values to customers, said Mackey in the
2009 fourth-quarter conference call.(1)
In 2010 Whole Foods was in a strong position to increase its number of new store
openings as it re-accelerated an aggressive growth program. After a period
during which it slowed new-store growth to invest in price, the company said it
expects to open 17 new stores in 2011 and 19 in 2012, compared with 15 stores
opened last year and 15 more expected this year. “As long as we can get good
stores, we are going to open as many as we can,” said John Mackey. “We're sort
of bullish and optimistic about our future potential growth. We have the capital
for it, our balance sheet has been renewed, we've got the infrastructure in
place and we have the leadership in place. We can grow faster and intend to grow
faster.” Whole Foods said it was also ramping up expansion in Canada, where it
recently reviewed several markets and signed deals for “a couple” of new stores.
In addition, the company said it was pleased with sales trends at its U.K.
stores and said it could have more announcements soon about plans to expand
In 2011 Whole Foods Market Inc. is starting to roll out a new range of healthier
prepared foods, nutritional scorecards, and other changes as part of its “Health
Starts Here” campaign to lure shoppers who want to get healthy.(3) It will also
increase the number of wellness clubs available in stores (4) and is part of a
campaign encouraging school kids to eat more healthily. (5)
List hyperlinks to any online news stories, press releases, or other documents that support the claims made in the section above. IMPORTANT: Begin each link with http://, and enclose each link in square brackets; for example, [http://www.youraddress.com]:
Provide a brief (up to 100 words) biography about the leader of this nominated company:
John Mackey served as President of Whole Foods Market, Inc., from June 2001 to
October 1, 2004; CEO from 1980 to 2010; and as Chairman from 1980 to 2009. He is
also a Co-Founder of Whole Foods Market Services, Inc., and serves as its
Chairman and CEO. Mackey is widely credited with helping fuel the rise of
organic and natural food in the United States. Previously, he served as the CEO
at WholePeople.com, Inc.
In 1978, Mackey opened Safer Way and is a Co-Founder and Director of Freedom
Lights Our World. He is a Member of Advisory Board at Satori Capital.