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AUSTIN, Texas — Whole Foods Market is looking for some friends to join them in reaching millennials at its 365 by Whole Foods Market stores.
Specifically, the retailer wants to partner with independent businesses "who bring their special mojo to our 365 stores," according to its Friends of 365 website.
"We like to mix things up. Friends of 365 may be any type of business — from food and drinks to fashion, body care products, services, and more. (Record shop? Tattoo parlor? Maybe!) And each 365 store may have a different mix of friends. The more variety, the merrier," the company stated.
According to Bloomberg, Whole Foods has advertised it is looking to find suppliers and vendors to set up shop in its 365 stores through a program called "Friends of 365."
The new locations will help Whole Foods "reach more communities than we would be able to with our mother ship," Robb said during an interview on Bloomberg TV.
In its financial results, Whole Foods reported same-store sales dropped 1.8 percent in the most recent quarter as U.S. millennials shop at cheaper natural-goods sellers, such as Trader Joe’s, Sprouts Farmers Market Inc. and even Wal-Mart Stores Inc.
"There’s a number of smaller-store competitors out there that are doing a nice job," he said. "We don’t see any reason why we can’t go participate in that part of the market as well with our 365 by Whole Foods offer — it’s going to be unique."
In addition, Whole Foods signed another five leases for its 365 format, bringing the total to 13 leases now signed. The new 365 by Whole Foods Market stores will be in Evergreen Park, Ill.; Gainesville, Fla.; and Concord, Claremont and Los Alamitos, Calif. The leases average 30,000 square feet.
"We have assembled an amazing team of people who have been working tirelessly to create an innovative shopping experience that will appeal to new and existing Whole Foods Market customers," said Jeff Turnas, president of 365 by Whole Foods Market. "We are all eagerly awaiting the opportunity to introduce 365 by Whole Foods Market with the opening of our first store in Los Angeles in just over 100 days."
These new leases follow previously announced locations in Bellevue, Wash.; Cedar Park, Texas; Cincinnati; Houston; Portland, Ore.; and San Francisco and Santa Monica, Calif.
The first 365 by Whole Foods Market store will open in May in the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles. Stores in Lake Oswego, Ore., and Bellevue, Wash., are slated to open in July and August, respectively.