Whole Foods Market's number of stores worldwide 2008-2017

Whole Foods Market had nearly 500 locations worldwide in 2017, nearly doubling the store count over the previous ten years. As the number of locations increased, so did the size of the supermarkets, from an average size of 36,000 square feet in 2008 to 40,000 in 2017.

Humble beginnings

The company, now known as a health food giant, had humble beginnings. Whole Foods Market was preceded by a vegetarian grocery store founded by John Mackey and Renee Lawson Hardy in Austin, Texas in 1978. The couple went on to partner with another local natural grocery store owned by Craig Weller and Mark Skiles and in 1980 the first Whole Foods Market was opened.

Recent struggles and Amazon acquisition

After years of success, Whole Foods’ profits began to dip as competitors took a greater and greater share of the organic and natural food market. Net income decreased by 12 percent from the 2014 high of 579 million U.S. dollars to 507 million in 2016. Amazon, the e-commerce giant, acquired Whole Foods in 2017 for nearly 14 billion dollars. The acquisition was Amazon’s most expensive to date.

Number of stores of Whole Foods Market worldwide from 2008 to 2017

Number of stores*
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Release date

January 2019



Survey time period

2008 to 2017

Supplementary notes

* Number of stores as of December 31.
Fiscal years 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2011 and 2010 were 52-week years and fiscal year 2012 was a 53-week year.

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