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Apr 24, 2018

A whole lotta love..

by Mike Benns - Managing Director

A whole lotta love..

Apart from allowing me to reminisce about one of the greatest rock tracks ever written, the title of this piece is in homage to the food retailing marvel that is Whole Foods Market.

I first discovered the chain in Washington DC when on holiday years ago and loved browsing the aisles and trying out new foods and drinks... though I thought at the time this was just another typial American supermarket with amazing, weird and wonderful groceries and stunning displays of fresh produce. Anyone who has supermarket shopped in the States will know exactly what I mean.

When I first heard they were going to try out the format in the UK, I was a little skeptical, particularly when I learned they were going to take over the Barkers Building on Kensington High Street. However, the concept is genius with the upper floor almost being a street food experience whilst the other floors are a food-lover's dream. Sure, it's expensive but I'm a great believer in 'you get what you pay for' and the simple fact of the matter is that in Whole Foods you can buy some really whacky stuff that you won't find anywhere else.

Since our move to Soho, we are lucky enough to be located very close to the store in Glasshouse St, just off Piccadilly Circus and it is truly a treasure trove of delicacies. Not only that but it is a great place to pick up breakfast or lunch, all cooked fresh on the premises.

The company has had its issues over the years and had declining revenue every year from 2012 to 2017. It suffered badly in the US and was on the verge of being bought by another grocer... investors urged the board to sell to Kroger. However, famously as it's biggest acquisition so far, Amazon came to the rescue with Jeff Bezos forking out $14 billion for Whole Foods last summer. An interesting move that left many retail analysts scratching their heads, but given this evening's news that Amazon has doubled its quarterly profits to $1.6bn, it seems he made a canny purchase. Not only has the grocer turned its fortunes around, in the US it has become a bricks and mortar distribution hub and network for Amazon. Given theat the deal was only completed in August 2017, this graph is fairly impressive.

There are also plans to strengthen the patnership by offering exclusive deals to Amazon Prime members and 2 hour delivery of any produce diret to home or desk. If any of this makes its way to the UK, I for one will be a very happy shopper.

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