Whole Foods store closures an opportunity for independents

The closure of the only two non-London Whole Foods stores this week was bittersweet for local retailers.

The closure of the only two Whole Foods stores outside of London this week was a bittersweet moment for nearby convience retailers.

Sandip Kotecha, from Londis Hewlett Road in Cheltenham and Emma Cohen from Mark’s Deli in Glasgow told Retail Express that their ranging is ready to meet the needs of Whole Foods customers, but expressed sadness at the loss to the community represented by the closures.

The store closures in Cheltenham and Glasgow elicited a strong response from users which one local paper called “middle-class mania”, with long queues and petitions in the run up to the last day of trading.

Whole Foods, now owned by Amazon, has a model of selling luxury health food products while also providing large specialist ranges such as in protein, vegetarian, vegan, raw vegan, paleo, gluten-free and dairy free goods.

Describing how he prepared his store to meet the needs of Whole Food customers Kotecha commented: “We’ve upped our game in store, made it more spacious, more welcoming and invested in free from ranges and a specialist protein section.”

He continued: “Even though whole Foods is fairly far away from us in the town, we’ve got an established and highly rated home delivery offering for providing local hot food to go with a luxury twist, we hope this will help to attract new customers and raise our profile outside of our catchment area.”

Mark’s Deli is a family-run kosher specialised shop and café located across the road from Whole Foods in Glasgow. Family member Emma Cohen told Retail Express: “It’s sad to see it close as it did offer something different to the community. However, both Whole Foods and us have this in common – we sell very good quality produce to our customers.”

Deli owner Mark Cohen had previously welcomed the opening of the rival store, telling The Jewish Chronicle: “There’s going to be a busy supermarket on what was a derelict site — that can only be good news.”

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