Many moving parts go into the production of a magazine and that is multiplied this month by the40th Annual WholeFoods Magazine Retailer Surveyconducted in conjunction with Readex Research. When accompanied by Retail Insights’ proprietary Retail Universe, it shows that independent organic and health food stores garnered $11.48 billion or 14.52% of natural and organic product sales.

It’s not a one-size-fits-all story. Some stores have closed this year, but others have opened. Nutritional supplement-heavy retailer Betsy Billingslea of Betsy’s Health Foods in Houston, TX, celebrates 25 years in business. She heads to Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim with the intent to “look vendors in the eye” and hold them to a MAP policy (Minimum Advertised Price).

Store owners such as Chris Schneider, proprietor of Mother Earth’s Storehouse in Kingston, NY, plan to continue adding fresh foods and prepared-to-go meals. He’s doubling-down on efforts to bring in locally grown wares from Hudson Valley producers and knows the better his store does with fresh produce, the bigger the basket size.

In Chattanooga, TN, Ed Jones, owner of Nutrition World, is leading his own campaign to encourage independents to be bold and to ask vendors to stick to a 30% or lower MAP. As he eliminates SKUs from companies that don’t adhere, his store sales still grew 6%. MAP is not a cut-and-dried topic, especially for companies that are not direct-to-store sellers. But Burns is committed to continuing the dialogue and is encouraged by changes he is seeing vendors adopt.

Special thanks to merchandising editor Jay Jacobowitz and creative/production director Christina Smith who toiled into the wee hours crunching numbers and displaying the highlights so you can see how you stacked up against your peers. The information is solid and you can share it with a lender or investor to raise the capital you may need for a remodel or expansion. Thank you to all who responded. Our gift to you is some data we won’t be sharing with the public at large.

Ourweb coverageoffers a fuller array of charts and graphs than could be offered in print.  Jay and I will host a webinar on Tuesday, April 24 at 2 p.m. Eastern. We will take some live questions at the end of the presentation, but if you have specific ones you would like us to address after reading the report, please pass them along

Be well!Photo by Gi Pamperien

Laurie Petersen Editor-in-Chief


Published in WholeFoods Magazine March 2018