The fact that upscale grocery chain Whole Foods has long-term plans to operate up to 1,000 stores in the U.S. has been widely publicized recently. But it seems Whole Foods executives want to depart somewhat from their long-term site selection criteria to achieve that goal.
An article posted by Bloomberg outlines some of Whole Foods' real estate strategies going forward. While the chain will continue to add on new locations in densely populated urban markets boasting high incomes and education levels, it will also start targeting less affluent neighborhoods and markets with populations under 75,000.
For instance, Whole Foods has already started work on its first store in Detroit as an example of a less affluent market, and might eventually open locations in Newark, N.J. and on the south side of Chicago.
When it comes to smaller markets, Whole Foods has opened stores in Glen Mills, Pa. and West Des Moines, Iowa. In order to make such stores work, the retailer will likely have to limit its usual product selection and open stores as small as 15,000 sq. ft.
That would be quite a departure from Whole Foods strategy up until now. Please let us know what you think about the chain's current expansion plans.