Whole Foods Trying to Lose 'Whole Paycheck' Rep

Expanding into suburban markets is working out well for organic grocer
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 15, 2012 11:14 AM CST
Whole Foods Trying to Lose 'Whole Paycheck' Rep
A sign is posted in front of a Whole Foods store February 17, 2010 in San Rafael, California.   (Getty Images)

Whole Foods wants you to know—or, at least, believe—that you won't go broke by shopping there. The upscale grocer is expanding beyond its traditional urban haunts into suburban markets, and in the process trying to shed the reputation that earned it the nickname "Whole Paycheck," the Wall Street Journal reports. The chain is offering more price promotions and discounts, and, despite rising costs, is even keeping prices on many items flat.

Some Whole Food products may still induce sticker shock, but the company hopes customers feel as though they're getting enough bargains to make up for it—a strategy they call "price perception." The chain is bothering with the push because its recent expansion into suburbia has been surprisingly profitable, thanks to a combination of lower rent and lower competition for organic food dollars. But the chain needs to be careful not to alienate "core customers," notes the Journal: They spend three times more than new ones. (Read more Whole Foods stories.)

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