The answer surprised us.
There are only about 300 Whole Foods locations. We would have guessed higher.
JPM analyst Charles Grom brings up this question in his latest note:
1,000 store capacity – 20+ years of growth remaining. At roughly 300 stores today, Whole Foods Market sees a market saturation point of approximately 1,000 stores and remains bullish on U.S. growth opportunities. Importantly, we believe this is the first time that Whole Foods has articulated a long-term store goal. This outlook is predicated upon (1) increased familiarity with the Whole Foods brand – not only in the U.S., but across Canada and in the U.K.; (2) an expanded focus on the Top 200 DMAs from the Top 50 previously with ample opportunity in the interior section of the country; and (3) a focus on smaller store sizes – 25,000-35,000 sq. ft. In addition to domestic growth, the company still sees meaningful opportunity on the international front. To be specific, with roughly $1.0 billion in sales in Canada and solid infrastructure/knowledge in place, management remains very bullish on growth prospects in the region and we expect to see a greater push outside of Vancouver and Toronto. Also, in London, recall WFMI recently signed two new leases and continues to see incremental improvement in the Kensington store.
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