No one could accuse Whole Foods of being timid about its growth prospects. The supermarket chain foresees operating 1,200 stores in the U.S. by 2021, which would be nearly three times its current store count of 436. Projected growth of the retailer's 365 by Whole Foods Market concept stores could push the total even higher than the 1,200 mark.
Whole Foods' optimistic projections come at a time when traditional supermarkets are consolidating and non-grocery retailers are making a strong bid for the consumer's food dollar. In Supermarket News'2016 Top 75 listing of grocery's biggest players, four of the top 10 were non-traditional formats: two big-box discounters, Walmart and Target, and two drugstores, CVS Health and Walgreens.