Is the time right for Publix to begin a major rollout of its GreenWise stores?
Last week, Publix announced plans to “reignite” its GreenWise store concept with the opening of a new store in Florida and plans to scout locations throughout its operating areas.
“We are committed to being the retailer of choice for consumers who are looking for specialty, natural and organic products,” said Kevin Murphy, senior vice president of retail operations for Publix. “Over the past several years, we have gained valuable insights from our existing GreenWise locations. By combining these learnings with customer feedback and market trends, we are better positioned to deliver on our vision of being the best at serving the evolving lifestyles of today’s consumer.”
The GreenWise organic and natural foods brand, which Publix created in 2003, spurred the development of a new store concept under the same name. The retailer opened its first GreenWise store in 2007 and, while some thought it was the start of a plan to compete head-to-head with Whole Foods and other natural food grocers, Publix has opened only three stores under the banner in the meantime. With the announcement last week, Publix has said it will open a fourth store in Tallahassee near Florida State University.
The decision by Publix to expand its GreenWise concept is happening at the same time that Whole Foods has experienced six straight quarterly declines in sales. The chain has seen mainstream supermarkets such as Kroger, Publix and others grab share in organic foods as it has struggled to overcome its “Whole Paycheck” pricing image.
Employee-owned Publix has been aggressively pursuing expansion up the Eastern seaboard in recent years. The Florida-based chain operates 1,146 stores in Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee as well as its home state. Publix will also be moving into Virginia after acquiring 10 Martin’s Food Markets from Ahold, which sold the properties to gain regulatory approval for its merger with Delhaize.
- Publix Sets Sights on GreenWise Stores – Publix Super Markets, Inc./Business Wire
- Despite buying only 10 locations, Publix has plans for more area stores – Richmond Times-Dispatch
- How price competitive does Whole Foods need to be? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Is the time right for Publix to engage in a significant rollout of its GreenWise format? What effect will the addition of new GreenWise stores have on competitors such as Whole Foods and mainstream grocers selling organic foods?