Whole Foods is discontinuing its cheaper, “millennial-bait” 365 by Whole Foods stores.
After two and a half years of testing the concept, the company has decided to leave it behind — though the 12 existing locations will stay open. According to internal emails from John Mackey, the CEO and co-founder of Whole Foods, the 365 concept is no longer needed because Amazon’s ownership of Whole Foods has made prices cheaper at all Whole Foods stores.
Whole Foods’s 365 stores came about as a way to combat the “Whole Paycheck” reputation of the grocery chain and appeal to a younger demographic. Now thanks to Amazon, “the price distinction between the two brands has become less relevant,” according to Mackey. Moreover, new goodies like discounts for Prime members, delivery through Amazon Fresh, and maybe even one day cashierless checkouts, Whole Foods doesn’t need special shops or tattoo parlors to appeal to customers.
That Whole Foods is cheaper now than it used to be is debatable. Prices on some foods have dropped by as much as 40%, but whether that affects the price of a whole basket of goods from the store is not clear. Still, Amazon’s acquisition has released Whole Foods from the fragile economics of the grocery market.