The share price of the Whole Foods Market, Inc., now stands at $62.49. Adjusting for stock splits and dividends, one share would have cost you $2.92 when the company opened on Nasdaq, in January of 1992, so it has done extremely well. Last year, its total revenue was more than $5 billion and its gross profit was more than $1.6 billion. In 2004, according to the Financial Times, Whole Foods was “the fastest-growing mass retailer in the US, with same-store sales rising 17.1 per cent quarter-on-quarter.” Having opened in 1978 with a single countercultural vegetarian establishment in Austin, Texas, Whole Foods now has a hundred and eighty-one natural-food supermarkets, including many acquired in purchases of smaller chains: among them, Wellspring Grocery, in 1991; Bread & Circus, in 1992; Mrs. Gooch’s Natural Foods, in 1993; and Fresh Fields, in 1996. In 2004, Whole Foods opened a fifty-eight-thousand-square-foot mega-mart in the new Time Warner Center, at Columbus Circle, with forty-two cash registers, a two-hundred-and-forty-eight-seat café, and three hundred and ninety employees. “Our goal is to provide New Yorkers with an engaging shopping experience and to become an integral part of this truly unique community,” a company executive said. And in 2004 Whole Foods crossed the Atlantic, acquiring six Fresh & Wild stores in London and making plans to open others there under its own name. Its ambitions are global.Continue reading here.
-- David M Gordon / The Deipnosophist