Whole Foods Market can use all the image help it can get right now. After a slamming investigation in New York City that found widespread overcharging on prepackaged foods, the chain is eagerly shifting focus to 365 by Whole Foods Market, its lower-price concept store opening next year.
Aimed at nabbing the millennial market and overcoming its “Whole Paycheck” nickname, the first 365 location will open in Silver Lake, Los Angeles’ hippest neighborhood. The location, a former Ralph’s supermarket, was slated to get a traditional Whole Foods Market some time in 2016. That location has been reallocated to house the first of the chain’s spinoff stores.
“Los Angeles is the perfect dense, urban market” to introduce the more convenient store format, co-Chief Executive Walter Robb said in an earnings call Wednesday with analysts.
Additional locations for the 365 markets include Houston; Bellevue, WA; Portland, OR and Santa Monica, CA. The company said it plans to double the number of 365 store openings in 2017, and there’s speculation that some of the traditional Whole Foods Markets may even transition into 365 locations.
The stores are expected to open in the second half of 2016. These spots were chosen due to a “high demand for both quality food and value in a convenient format,” according to a statement by Jeff Turnas, the president of 365 by Whole Foods Market.
Going head to head with markets like Trader Joe’s and Sprouts, 365 by Whole Foods will focus on lower-priced items it already sells under its 365 label, as well as other well-known top-selling products from national brands.
Like Trader Joe’s the 365 concept is aimed at making the shopping experience faster and easier, something Trader Joe’s excels at. John Mackey, Whole Foods’ co-CEO says the intent of the 365 stores is to expand the company’s reach to customers who find Whole Foods’ prices too high.