Whole Foods testing price cuts on 400 items

Whole Foods (NASDAQ:WFM) is testing out an aggressive price cutting effort, starting with a pilot program in five Austin stores. The natural and organic food retailer has lowered prices on all produce products, about 400 items.

Customers will also be able to scope out deeper discounts in about a dozen special deals each week, reported NorthJersey.com.

The move is part of an overall strategy by Whole Foods to try and offer more competitive pricing as it vies to compete with the many larger, cheaper retailers now offering health foods. In spring, the company announced it would lower prices for consumers and focus more on digital innovation.

"We are going to be more aggressive than we have ever been before," co-CEO and co-founder John Mackey told the Austin American-Statesman. "We will have a lot more items under $1. A lot more promotions, a lot more radically priced produce. Everyday low prices will be in effect, but there will also be significantly reduced promotional products."

The pilot will last several months as executives decide whether or not to expand. The company spent a good portion of 2014 reducing expenses in order to be able to make price adjustments. With food margins being as thin as they are, Whole Foods had to find ways to cut costs without losing quality.

Whole Foods plans to offer 60 produce items at less than $1 each or less than $1 a pound, while 300 items will be less than $2 each, or $2 a pound. Some regular markdowns could range from 15 to 50 percent off and sale items another 50 percent off.

Whole Foods chose Austin as a test because of its competitive produce market.

Earlier this month, Whole Foods launched its first customer loyalty program in its Princeton, New Jersey, store. The retailer also recently announced a partnership with Instacart that will allow customers to get their groceries delivered in as little as an hour.

For more:
-See this NorthJersey.com article

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