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Changes Are Afoot at Whole Foods Markets

The darling of specialty food buyers and producers everywhere, Whole Foods Market seems to be making some shifts to better serve the customers and shareholders. From loyalty programs to CEO streamlining, the company is attempting to better position itself for the future.

Whole Foods will streamline its CEO position as co-founder John Mackey will become the company’s sole CEO. Co-CEO Walter Robb will become a director and senior advisor to the company.

While same-store sales fell 2.6% in the retailer’s latest quarter, Whole Foods will focus on providing better customer service and promoting high-quality products rather than cutting prices, reported The State (Nov. 2).

In the wake of the CEO news, a major Whole Foods’ shareholder met with potential activist investors to discuss changes at the grocery chain, including replacing management and exploring a sale, according to people familiar with the matter. The investor cited Whole Foods’ poor inventory and vendor management, high costs and failure to make the most of its appeal to Millennials among the chain’s key issues, reported Omaha World-Herald (Nov. 5).

Whole Foods is also planning a nationwide launch for its loyalty program in 2017. The company will work to integrate more digital coupons in the program, which gives the chain the ability to target offers and learn customers’ buying behaviors, reported Chain Store Age (Nov. 4).

It is unclear how the current initiatives at Whole Foods will turn out, but you can be sure the Food Institute will keep a close eye on its progress in our Blog, Report and Today In Food newsletter. Stay tuned for the latest updates.