Wild Oats is an organic natural foods retail company that is dedicated toward providing organic and all natural products as well as provides customers with information to support healthy lifestyles. In 2003, the small health food retailer noted that trends indicated that there would be a boom in the marketplace for organic and all natural food products. In reaction to these trends company officials developed a well capitalized and aggressive plan to become a leader in this newly emerging market.
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The plan, although well intended, ended in 2007 when major competitor Whole Foods bought out the retailer after the company sunk into debt by approximately $106 million. The company’s main strategy was to open 25 new stores by 2005, (Wild Oats; All Natural Food Market, 2003). “Establishing a nationwide store base provides a platform to expand unique brand presence and awareness, (Wild Oats; All Natural Food Market, p. 21).”
The company planned to utilize its national and regional distributional infrastructure as well as a scalable marketing and advertising campaign to increase consumer awareness and establish a solid repeat customer base. At the time of their report the company was performing strong.
However, tough competition from other health food retailers including Whole Foods, Trader Joes and health food sections in conventional stores such as Kroger and Wal-mart came at a time when the company had invested much money in new stores. In addition the housing market and economy had already begun to decline by 2007. Ultimately, the company took on too many long term projects that restricted their ability to be price competitive at a time when the county was entering tough economic times. Whole Foods, however, had already established themselves well in advance of the economic slump and were able to make the investment and acquire Wild Oats
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