Does anyone have any recent info on Wild Oats founder's new enterprise, Sunflower Markets? Are they going public anytime soon?
Small article from Acres - A Voice for Eco-Agriculture, Jan. 2006: Supervalu Chain Gears Up Whole Foods and Wild Oats may find their days as the big kids on the organic grocery block drawing to a close. Supervalu, a big player in the retail and distribution business for mainstream groceries, will open its first Sunflower Market in Indianapolis early in 2006, with more stores on the way in other states. Although Supervalu's executives are keeping quiet for the time being about the number of Sunflower Markets they plan to open in the near future, they have said the new stores will range from 12,000 to 15,000 square feet. They apparently have a plan for competing with the older chains on price, stating their goal as delivering "outstanding natural and organic products at a price point consistent with consumer expectations."Dick
He has opened a couple Sunflower Markets in the Denver area in the past year. Whole Foods now has 5 stores in the Denver metro area (including 1 in Boulder). Wild Oats probably has about 15 stores in the area.Whole Foods stores do extremely well and are always packed. Wild Oats is a very weak competitor and their stores have little traffic. I would definitely not invest in Wild Oats stock. I think the company is not well run and makes no money. Visit a Wild Oats then visit a Whole Foods. It is like night and day. Wild Oats originally started in Denver then expanded by overpaying for very weak chains and taking on a lot of debt. They are still trying to fix all the problems caused by their over expansion and heavy debt load. I would not buy Whole Foods stock. I think it is a great company, but the stock is too expensive. The Sunflower Stores are very bare bones and seem to target a more cost conscious consumer, but with many of the same products you find in a Whole Foods / Wild Oats. They seem to do a good business. Their locations are in less appealing areas where rents are cheaper. They are definitely not anything like a Whole Foods store. Given the past history with Wild Oats and how he screwed up, I'd be careful about investing with this guy.
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