Whole Foods Market Inc. (WFM) touts itself as an upscale grocer, and charges the prices to prove it. It's not for nothing that its nickname is Whole Paycheck, where items can cost double the price of what's sold at Kroger (KR) - Get Report or Walmart Stores Inc. (WMT) - Get Report .
With that in mind, you might think that the Whole Foods in Tribeca, one of New York City's priciest neighborhoods, would be a gleaming example of a premier grocer serving a largely well-to-do customer base. Here in this lower Manhattan locale, the median annual income is nearly $120,000 and median home sales go for $2.3 million, according to Point2Point Homes. Many of the neighborhood's residents are college-educated professionals.
But when we visited the Tribeca Whole Foods store two days in a row recently, we found a mess—debris on the floor, shelves not fully stocked and items displayed helter-skelter. Meanwhile, the Burger Bar, which sells made-to-order fast food, was slow-moving and disorganized.
With a show like this, it's no wonder that Whole Foods, whose stock price over 52 weeks has swung between $27.67 and $43.84, has been struggling mightily. Now that the super-efficient and sleek Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) - Get Report has bid to buy the grocer for $13.7 billion, perhaps it can clean up Whole Foods' act in Tribeca and elsewhere.
Whole Foods' shares fell 0.1% to $42.12 by Monday's close.
Here's what we found on our visits.
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Editors' pick: Originally published June 26.