Whole Foods Market will convert its smaller-format 365 stores into traditional Whole Foods stores by year’s end, Yahoo Finance has reported. The move comes a month a month after the natural food grocer revealed plans to discontinue its expansion of the concept.
Each location will change its signage, product assortments and back-end distribution, and, given their 25,000- to 30,000-square-foot size–10,000 less than the average Whole Foods–may lack features such as a meat counter.
The 365 concept was first rolled out nearly four years ago and was intended to function as a fewer-frills, value-focused chain that emphasized private label products. Whole Foods’ flagship store brand is named 365 Everyday Value.
However, Whole Foods started lowering prices at its namesake stores following the Amazon acquisition in 2017, and the price distinction between the two formats had “become less relevant,” Whole Foods CEO John Mackey noted in an email quoted by Yahoo Finance and Business Insider.
While Mackey was optimistic about opening a large number of 365 stores just prior to Amazon’s acquisition in 2017, only nine have opened since then, and some slated to open have done so under the Whole Foods banner.