Earlier this month, Whole Foods reported losses of $18.4 million for its UK stores.
In addition to its domestic struggles, the Austin-based natural foods chain has been unsuccessful in its attempt to snag a piece of the UK market share. In the last year, the chain has opened six stores in Britain. The highly anticipated debut was a three-story, 80,000-square-foot emporium that opened on London's High Street last June.
So what went wrong? There are several factors: First, the company set up shop at a time when organic foods were still flying off shelves.
Since the credit crunch occurred, however, the country's sales of organic produce have fallen. Second, the organics industry is well developed and competitive in Britain, and existing stores such as Waitrose and Tesco have developed brand loyalty.
With the economy's downward spiral, it's unlikely that Whole Foods's problems will magically disappear. What do you think about the development? Are you surprised Whole Foods wasn't a success in the UK?