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Whole Foods, Harris Teeter Expand Offerings As Fresh Market Downsizes

It’s crunch time for retailers. To attract new customers, retain current customers and plan for long-term, consistent sales growth, several retailers revealed new stores, marketing strategies and location plays over the last week.

Whole Foods North Atlantic Tests New Membership Program

Stores in the North Atlantic Region of Whole Foods Markets are testing a new way to encourage repeat purchases and gain consumer loyalty. The membership program costs $30 a year and shoppers gain 20 percent off on supplements.

A store team member told NOSH the membership includes roughly all products that contain supplement facts in place of a traditional nutritional information panel. While food and beverage products such as herbal teas are not part of the program, protein powders and all probiotic shots, beverages, hemp seeds, chia seeds and supplement enhanced chocolates sold through the retailer’s Whole Body department are included.

The membership will also bring consumers into stores. Both Whole Foods’ own website and its delivery partner Instacart do not accept the membership card.

New 365 ‘2.0’ Opens in Austin

After opening three of their “value focused” 365 stores on the West Coast, Whole Foods has opened a new 365 location in the Austin, Texas, suburb of Cedar Park. Whole Foods CEO and founder John Mackey previously billed the new location as 365 “2.0,” saying the retailer incorporated feedback from its previous three 365 stores.

One notable change — the store’s logo. While previous stores facades feature a large “365” and smaller “by Whole Foods Market” the new store sports the traditional “Whole Foods Market” logo with a small “365” in the corner.

The store does incorporate the “Friends of 365” concept, with a Juiceland counter and Easy Tiger beer garden and bakery operating separately within the store. Also carrying over to the new location is 365’s card-based rewards program, a promotional effort that’s still being tested in select Whole Foods markets.

Harris Teeter Helps Consumers Go Free From 101

Harris Teeter, a subsidiary of The Kroger Corporation, has announced a new program designed to “encourage healthy food options.” The retailer announced that it will place bib tags noting when a product is “Free From 101” and “free from one hundred and one artificial preservatives and ingredients” throughout its stores.

While the full list is published on Harris Teeter’s website, generally the list of forbidden ingredients includes: preservative, additives, antibiotics, artificial colors and flavors, BHA/BHT, artificial sweeteners, hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils, nitrates and nitrites, high fructose corn syrup, monosodium glutamate (MSG), trans fatty acids, parabens and EDTA.

The term “free from” may prove to be confusing to some consumers, who associate the term “free from” with being free of the top eight allergens (gluten, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, dairy, soy, eggs and fish.

The Fresh Market Closes Stores in Effort to See Long Term Growth

This week natural retailer The Fresh Market announced it plans to shutter five of its locations as part of an effort to expand its offerings and reposition itself as a everyday, more mainstream retailer. In a statement, the retailer said the closings will allow it to focus more on long-term performance goals.

Fresh Market also plans to launch a refreshed look and offer more “everyday” grocery items in addition to its current portfolio of natural, specialty and fresh offerings. This shift means the addition of basic household goods, such a pet, baby and cleaning products, that have forced shoppers to visit other retailers.

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