Whole Foods is facing problems entering the British market
by Redaktion (comments: 0)
The American chain Whole Foods Market (WFM) has planned to open its first European supermarket in London in spring next year. “Mail on Sunday” takes a look at the problems and on the effect Whole Foods Market has in Great Britain. The question occurred if the chain has bitten off more than it can chew – the opening of their flagship market in Kensington has already been delayed by six months. As Teena Lyons, author, states, British supermarkets have already started a battle against the American competitor. The tough stance of Tesco and Waitrose means that WFM will face difficulties securing supplies of organic fresh food in Britain. The organic supply chain is under tremendous strain in satisfying the boom in demand, since there are simply not enough accredited farms – the process of converting to achieve organic status can take two to three years.
Apparently there was an informal approach of WFM to Waitrose executives, but it has been refused. This rejection was maybe predictable as Waitrose already has a store in Kensington – the site chosen by WFM. Waitrose has very good contacts to organic suppliers as almost 90 % of Waitrose’s organic products are sourced from the UK.
The first step against the American competitor was made a year ago by Tesco. As plans were announced to open up to 70 large stores in the UK as part of a major European expansion, Tesco’s executives quietly registered the trade name Wholefoods. A range of dried fruit, nuts and pulses has been introduced under the label. This prevents WFM from importing its own-label goods without changing the name on the packaging, denting the profitability of the venture immensely. A WMF spokesman stated that the chain produced ranges in the US under several different names which could still be sold in the UK. Company insiders, however, admitted that the move of Tesco had been a major problem.
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