Organic Food Fans, Stop Dumping on Walmart!
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- To say Walmart
When the retail giant is not being scorned over low wages for its frontline workers, the company gets hammered for what many believe to be "unfair business practices." But is it Walmart's fault that mom-and-pop shops are unable to compete?
Where have been the protests over Amazon
The company has not taken these shots lightly, and continues to work to reshape how it is being perceived. So it wasn't a surprise to learn Thursday that Walmart plans to expand its organic food stock. The announcement says that Walmart will offer Wild Oats organic products at a 25% discount.
Walmart shares were trading at $77.98 as of 10:30 a.m. Thursday. The stock is down 0.8% year-to-date, and up 0.9% over the past 52 weeks, with a dividend yield of 2.46%.
Walmart aims to grab a foothold in a market now dominated by The Fresh Market
Whole Foods has tried this very same move before: it bought out the Wild Oats chain of stores in 2007. The FTC protested the acquisition under antitrust law, and in 2009 Whole Foods sold Wild Oats under court order. Now Walmart is benefitting from the breakup and from the revived Wild Oats brands.
In the coming months, Walmart said it will introduce Wild Oats at roughly 2,000 stores -- half of its national footprint. If the brand gains enough traction, the company will then roll out the product to the rest of the country. Walmart wants to ensure that there are no hiccups with supply and distribution.
It's a sound strategy.
Given the recent earnings growth of smaller players like Natural Grocers
But more important than profit, this move is also about altering Walmart's profile. The company wants to become more synonymous with health and wellness.