Blog: Whole Foods Market a victim of its own success
Katy Askew | 7 May 2014
Whole Foods Market lowered its outlook for the third time today (6 May) as the group missed second quarter expectations, sending shares plummeting.
The company had revenue of $3.32bn for the quarter, up 9.7% but missing consensus estimates of $3.34bn. The group lowered its full-year EPS guidance to $1.52-1.56. Shares dropped by almost 17% in New York following the announcement.
To an extent, the pioneer of the natural and organic food sector in the US has been damaged by its own success. Organic and natural foods have moved from a niche area championed by foodies and hippies to become part of the mainstream discourse in middle class America.
Organic sales in the US are expected to benefit from a CAGR of around 14% through to 2018. But these strong growth prospects - coming atop an ever-expanding base - have caused mainstream retailers to sit up and take note.
Traditional supermarkets like Kroger have stepped up their activity in the channel - resulting in increasing competition and price pressure. The fact that Wal-Mart, an icon of low-price sprawling suburbia, has plans to launch around 100 lines under the Wild Oats brand means the competitive environment only looks set to intensify.
Whole Foods is unlikely to be able to compete with the might of Wal-Mart on price despite its best efforts - including the launch of an entry-level own brand range. The group does, however, have a number of strategic initiatives that mean it is well placed to continue to strengthen its appeal to upper middle class Americans.
The firm is innovating in the retail space and has entered into a strategic tie-up with payments firm Square, who also services Starbucks, to create more convenient "on-the-go" shopping.
Whole Foods is also driving space growth apace. The company currently operates something shy of 400 stores in the US and Canada. Management believes it will hit 500 outlets by 2017 and has preciously indicated that it sees scope to operate a total of around 1,200 stores before hitting saturation point in the market.
Whole Foods future growth trajectory will depend on whether these efforts will be enough to win through in a more price sensitive market.
Russian food firm Ros Agro which has interests in sugar and meat has posted an increase in net profits for the first half of 2014. ...
UK health leaders have called for an "emergency task force" to tackle the childhood obesity crisis in the country as, for the first time, they are faced with a generation of patients "who may predecea...
Tyson Foods has completed its US$8.55bn acquisition of Hillshire Brands, with shares in the Jimmy Dean sausage maker delisted before the market opened today (29 August) - and its CEO leaving the busin...
New Zealand dairy group Synlait Milk revealed today (28 August) it has hit the "major milestone" of receiving regulatory clearance to begin exporting finished product from its new NZ$28.5m dry blendin...
ConAgra Foods has responded to investor criticism of its palm oil usage by committing to source 100% sustainable palm oil by December 2015....
- BRICs and beyond: Fonterra, Beingmate partnership
- On the money: Mengniu hones in on "star" brands
- just-food interview: Agropur CEO Robert Coallier
- Consuming issues: The hunger-obesity paradox
- Comment: Competition to rise on whey investments
- Valio lactose-free trucks stopped at Russia border
- UK firm Pasta Reale enters administration
- H1 profits down at dairy group FrieslandCampina
- Mondelez eyes snacks categories in India
- Fonterra, Beingmate launch infant formula JV