Image courtesy of Whole Foods.

Santa Monica will be home to four Whole Foods stores by the end of next year.

The company has announced several new stores as part of their “value-oriented 365 by Whole Foods Market brand” and the Santa Monica location will be part of a nationwide-rollout including stores in Silver Lake, Washington, Texas and Oregon.

According to Whole Foods, the 365-brand will feature a curated mix of products in an environment that’s fun and convenient for shoppers. The official announcement described the brand as “bringing fresh, healthy foods to a broader audience with a streamlined, quality-meets-value shopping experience.”

The new stores are expected to help Whole Foods fight the idea that its stores are expensive and are expected to compete at a slightly lower price point. The new stores are expected to heavily feature Whole Foods store-brand products and to be competitive with stores like Trader Joe’s.

The first store locations are slated to open in the second half of 2016. The company plans to double the number of 365 by Whole Foods Market store openings in 2017.

Whole Foods Market currently operates 24 locations in the Los Angeles area, including two stores on Wilshire Boulevard and a third on Montana Avenue. The Venice location is at Lincoln Boulevard and Rose Avenue, a few blocks outside city limits.

“We are really excited about the progress we have made with securing real estate in markets where there is high demand for both quality food and value in a convenient format,” said Jeff Turnas, president of 365 by Whole Foods Market.

He said the Silver Lake location was originally planned as a standard store, but will be converted to the first 365 store.

“With a fresh format and unique product assortment, we think 365 will offer convenience and value while providing the quality standards and transparency that consumers love and expect,” Turnas said.

The company has announced it has signed a lease in Santa Monica but has not revealed the location.

“While we’re not disclosing the specific site location at this time, we’ve got a great spot in Santa Monica and we believe that residents of Santa Monica are hungry for the value proposition 365 by Whole Foods Market stores will deliver,” said Michael Silverman, in Whole Foods Global Communications division. “The LA area is the perfect dense urban market where customers already love our quality standards and transparency to introduce our latest evolution of that in 365 stores.”

Santa Monica’s Architectural Review Board has a pending application for a market tenant at 2121 Cloverfield Blvd., near the intersection of Cloverfield Boulevard and Pico Boulevard, but the project does not specify the market’s brand name.

Whole Foods will be expanding into a highly competitive local market. The city already has nine traditional grocery stores. One of those is Haggen, a brand from the Pacific Northwest that entered the Los Angeles market through its purchase of Albertson’s. Haggen recently announced layoffs in Southern California due to tough competition.

In fiscal year 2014, Whole Foods had sales of approximately $14 billion and currently has 424 stores in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.

In a statement to investors, Walter Robb, co-chief executive officer of Whole Foods Market said he believed the company is taking the necessary steps to position itself for the longer term.

“We remain focused on innovating and evolving to best serve our customers’ diverse purchasing preferences. From the unique experience of our Whole Foods Market stores, to our growing online channel for home delivery, to the exciting launch of our 365 by Whole Foods Market stores, we are making investments to extend our reach to both new and existing customers,” he said.

editor@www.smdp.com

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