Checking out the Checkout

Is Whole Foods' first low-price store in the Austin area a success?

Is Whole Foods' first low-price store in the Austin area a success?

365 by Whole Foods Market exterior
Photo courtesy of 365 by Whole Foods Market

Less than a month after it opened, Whole Foods’ new lower-cost 365 store in Cedar Park is surpassing expectations. That’s the latest word from John Mackey, co-founder and CEO of Whole Foods.

“We’re very encouraged with the initial results. Sales have been very strong there,” Mackey told Wall Street analysts in a May 10 conference call. He declined to give specific sales numbers.

In fact, executives at Austin-based Whole Foods are so jazzed about the 365 format that they’ve got 22 more stores in the pipeline — a number that Mackey predicts will increase, thanks to the lower operating expenses and higher profits than traditional Whole Foods locations. Currently, the 365 chain operates the Cedar Park location and three other U.S. stores.

Whole Foods expects 365 to evolve after “significant improvements” were made at the Cedar Park store as part of the so-called 365 2.0 initiative, according to Mackey.

“We continually upgrade and improve,” Mackey says of the 365 stores. “And 365 has a new iteration, and we’re very happy with it and that’s what you'll be seeing.”

Between now and late September, Whole Foods plans to open one 365 store in Santa Monica, California, and another in Akron, Ohio.

“So 2.0, we think, is going to be a great success and then 3.0 is going be better than that, and that’s just the way we do things at Whole Foods — constant improvement,” Mackey says.