Apparently, overcharging customers is bad for business, and now Whole Foods is paying the price.
Back in June, Whole Foods in New York was accused of overcharging customers by mislabeling the weights on prepackaged food, eventually leading to an apology from company execs. Yesterday, the brand admitted that negative press from that incident caused a sharp decline in sales growth in the last two weeks of their fiscal quarter that ended July 5th. Damn customers and their desire to be treated fairly!
In a call with analysts and investors, Whole Foods brass tried their best to address the issue. “There's no magic bullet for restoring whatever trust was lost,” said co-CEO Walter Robb, according to Inc. Meanwhile, the company’s other co-CEO John Mackey, sounded a bit miffed by the entire situation, claiming inaccurate labeling is common across the entire industry. “We're not sure why Whole Foods was singled out for this attention, and we don't know why the media ran wild with this,” he said.
Um, I can take a guess. You know how everything in Whole Foods is so expensive? And how that’s one of the main things the store is known for? And how Whole Foods is opening an entire new chain of stores to fight that perception? Maybe the media ran with the story because it validated the way people feel about Whole Foods.
Making things worse, Whole Foods already had bigger fish to fry as other large retailers encroach on the organic and health food markets. “In this rapidly changing marketplace, we believe we are taking the necessary steps to position ourselves for the longer term,” Robb said in a statement. A good first step is actually charging customers the right prices.