The announcement of the brand extension in May prompted trademark filings by the grocery chain of names including Clever Egg, DailyShop, Greenlife, Small Batch and Swiftgoods—all “decoys” said Co-CEO Walter Robb, according to the Associated Press.
The 365 store brand will be led by Jeff Turnas, a 20-year Whole Foods Market veteran. “We are excited to introduce 365 by Whole Foods Market to bring healthy foods to even more communities with a fresh, quality-meets-value shopping experience that’s fun and convenient,” Turnas stated. “A modern, streamlined design with innovative technology and a carefully curated product mix will offer an efficient and rewarding way to grocery shop.”
While 365 products will be the main staples in the new stores, national brands will also be available as Whole Foods pivots its 400 stores toward the mainstream adoption of organic and natural products now available at many supermarket chains and big-box retailers, not to mention farmers’ markets in cities across America.
“Offering our industry-leading quality standards at value prices, this new format will feature a modern, streamlined design, innovative technology and a curated selection,” Whole Foods co-founder and Co-CEO John Mackey told investors in May, as reported by the Austin, TX Statesman.
“It will offer a convenient, transparent, and values-oriented experience geared toward millennial shoppers, while appealing to anyone looking for high quality, fresh food at great prices.”
Whole Foods plans to open between five and 10 of the 365 stores across the US in 2016, described by Mackey as a “streamlined, hip, cool technology-oriented store, unlike any store anybody has ever seen before.”
While the current average Whole Foods Market store size is about 38,000 square feet, the new 365 brand stores will be more in-line with its 14,000-square foot store in Prescott, Arizona, and an 18,000-square foot store planned for a Chicago-area neighborhood.
Mackey said the company is ready to evolve with the marketplace. “You have to be willing to do what it takes to serve your customers better. You have to be willing to serve your customers where you find them. We see this as a huge opportunity,” he told the Statesman.
“We intend to continue to be the leader in this category for the rest of this century, so we are evolving with the marketplace,” Mackey added. “It’s going to be unique. It’s going to be very exciting.”
Whole Foods follows a growing trend of grocery retailers looking to increase value and woo the next generation of shoppers, such as Walmart, which is opening smaller Neighborhood Market stores for shoppers who are in a hurry, and Trader Joe’s, which is popular with young urbanites on a budget.
Whole Foods might also look to the Sprouts Farmers Market specialty grocer chain for inspiration. The public company, which trades on the NASDAQ Stock Market and was previously owned by Apollo Management, focuses on value and its store brand products.
“They’ve identified millennial shoppers—younger shoppers who are very particular about what they eat, but also tough about what they can spend on food,” said Jon Springer, retail editor for Supermarket News.
Below, hear more from Turnas on the 365 concept: