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No crowded aisles today at Whole Foods

A few weeks ago I mentioned that a new Trader Joe’s has opened less than a mile from Whole Foods. Yesterday, on a Monday morning, Trader Joe’s was busy. But Whole Foods was as un-busy as I’ve ever seen it. It’s interesting that Trader Joe’s seems to siphon off so many customers from Whole Foods, because they’re not the same kind of store.

For one, Trader Joe’s doesn’t carry a lot of stuff. If you read up on the grocery business, you’ll learn that the bigger grocery stores may carry up to 50,000 items. Trader Joe’s carries only about 4,000 items, and 80 percent of them are Trader Joe’s own brand. Trader Joe’s is a nice supplement and cost-reducer for grocery shoppers, but most people are going to have to shop somewhere else as well.

Still, I doubt that Whole Foods is hurting. They have one of the highest pre-tax profit margins in the grocery business, 4.3 percent. The average for the grocery industry as a whole is closer to 1 percent. As for Trader Joe’s profits, very little is known because the company is privately held.


  1. Uptown Jimmy wrote:

    We got us a Trader Joe’s and an Aldi here in Athens in the same year, which I think was not an accident. I’m pretty sure the same company owns them both. That’s an odd corporate match. Aldi is bottom of the barrel as far as we can tell. We went there once.

    Wednesday, November 28, 2012 at 9:30 am | Permalink
  2. Quetal wrote:

    I like Whole Foods, I can always guarantee my self that I’m buying local stuff, and the variety is amazing. They have my favorite Cheerio type cereal and Rice chips, and many interesting items to salivate over. The butcher and cheese person always have something out to taste. Trader Joe’s “O” are good, and the wine selection is affordable, I don’t go there very often. Whats great about where I live, the Sacramento Valley, there are many produce stands and small grocers such as Newcastle and the Nugget that provide the items you really want, and fill a niche that Traders, Raley’s, or Safeway don’t fill

    Wednesday, November 28, 2012 at 11:20 pm | Permalink

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