After a period of great expansion, the company now operates more than 470 stores in the U.S., Canada and the United Kingdom. In its latest annual report, in 2017 Whole Foods Market stated net sales amounting to about 16 billion U.S. dollars. Most of their sales are generated within the United States.
In August 2017, Whole Foods Market was acquired by Amazon.com, a merger which caused a stir in both the tech and grocery retail industries. In that year, Amazon.com was valued at 139.3 billion U.S. dollars, making it the most valuable retail brand in the world. In its early years, the food retailer was especially known for its high food standards and even the brand name was used synonymously with ‘health’ and ‘organic’. Lately, Whole Foods Market has been accused of high prices and overcharging. However, there is hope that the online retail giant will make Whole Foods Market more affordable, and perhaps consumers will stop jokingly referring to it as “Whole Paycheck”.
In order to restore its key reputation of being natural and reliable in consumer’s minds and to differentiate itself from its stronger up-and-coming competitors, Whole Foods Market recently started a huge national branding campaign. The New York Times estimated the budget for this campaign between 15 and 20 million U.S. dollars. In 2017, Whole Foods Market spent about 113 million U.S. dollars on advertising worldwide.