Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Whole Foods Fort Worth

Whole Foods continues to list Fort Worth as a store in development. The April, 2008 issue of Fort Worth Business listed the construction start date as 2010.

Grocery stores like Whole Foods and Central Market are having a rough ride through this depressed economy. Whole Foods is a publicly traded company, which, in this case, is not in its favor. The share price is below $12 today, down from its high of $77 in 1997. It has been a slow and steady decline, which is not a good sign for investors and eventually, shoppers. Central Market is a privately held company and a division of HEB of San Antonio. Central Market's books are not open to public observation. My guess is that it has experienced what all retailers have experienced and that is a drop in sales and profits.

Not surprisingly, the trend in super markets is away from high price to the super-discount. This is partly due to the fact that the middle ground is already overserved by Krogers, Tom Thumb, Safeway, Acme, Albertsons, etc.

Fort Worth has yet to see the super discounters because of an extemely competitive middle ground presence and because of discounters like Walmart, Walmart Groceries, Sams and Costco. In other parts of the country shoppers see names like Trader Joes, Aldi, and now Fresh and Easy, in the West-- all super discounters with a minor emphasis on quality generic brands and organic brands. Sprouts is another niche food retailer going after the Whole Foods shopper with a smaller footprint store. I read that there are three Sprouts in Tarrant County but have not been to one.

But regardless of the trend and our need to find savings in food purchases, I hope that the plans for Whole Foods haven't changed and I hope Central Market can make it through these times. All Fort Worth food enthusiasts have grown accustomed to the food shopping, eating and browsing experience at Central Market. I hope it doesn't end.

If you know any changes in the plans for Whole Foods, or the viability of Central Market, please let me know.


Steve-O said...

My understanding is that the Fort Worth Whole Foods will be along the yet-to-begin-construction Southwest Parkway. A 2010 opening seems a tad optimistic.

Years ago, H-E-B used to be a client, and I always found them to be a tightly run, fiscally conservative organization. Even if the people of Fort Worth are buying less goat cheese, the fact that Central Market is a relatively small component of their overall holdings would lead me to believe they would fair OK. My only wish is that there were H-E-B stores in Fort Worth. I always found them to be the best of the "normal" grocery stores when I lived in Austin.

Francis Shivone said...


HEB is indeed a tightly run company and I should have mentioned that Central Market is barely a line item in their gross sales spreadsheet.

I like HEB as well, but they have no interest in entering the DFW supermarket food wars, I don't think.

Lynn said...

Hey, I did my bit to help out CM's bottom line last night. I buy my basics [milk, eggs] at WalMart, but I buy my nourishment [bread, cheese, veggies] at CM, and a little at Target.

*Loved* HEB when we lived in Fredericksburg. Miss them enormously and head right for them when I'm out in the hinterlands...

Rambler said...

The only Tarrant County Sprouts I found on their website is in Southlake.

I'm missing Minyard's though. The very small store on Camp Bowie at Hulen (a "Buddy's" when I was little) was very homey, as was the Westcliff location.

Fiesta took over the Winn-Dixie stores and seem to be getting the Minyard's now, at least the location at Miller and Berry. It's interesting to see the hispanic theme adapted to the 'hood.

Francis Shivone said...

Lynn -- actually, I think that is the way most of us shop these days. And I agree about HEB.

Rambler -- My neighbor always called the Minyards up the street Buddys. Ours went through the same changes as yours. I do like the big Fiesta stores and the Carnivals, which I think have kept the Minyards folks in the DFW market, but nothing replaces the simplicity and feel of the original, old, "self-serve" grocery stores.

Sunni R. said...

Another chiming in with HEB love. I was raised up in these parts, but married a central TX guy. It is a great chain. If traffic and store crowdedness are any indication of CM's fiscal health, I would be shocked to hear they were going through tough times. That place is *always* packed.

Sunni R. said...

Also, I have visited 2 Sprouts locations and really enjoyed the store. There is no pretension to that chain if that makes any sense. If I lived closer I would shop there.