Skip to main content

Consumer spending is decreasing, and grocers like

Whole Foods Market

( WFMI) are suffering hunger pangs.

Though Whole Foods is still popular among wealthy urban professionals, it's haunted by its old nickname: "Whole Paycheck." Consumers view Whole Foods as a luxury shopping destination -- and in this economic downturn they're looking elsewhere for their bread and butter.

The table below compares the drop in average consumer spending per visit at grocery retailers year to date. Whole Foods spending dropped 19% from January to October 2008, whereas value-branded

Stop & Shop


had a slim 1.54% decrease in customer spending. Not bad for an economically volatile year.

The bad news for Whole Foods doesn't end there.

Not only does Whole Foods have the biggest drop in spending per visit from January to October, but its customers are also spending the least per visit of all stores compared, according to the new Main Street Spending Index (MSSI) compiled by


a personal finance Web site that helps consumers track their spending.

A Whole Foods customer spent just $28.30 during an average visit in October. By contrast, "value retailer"



Scroll to Continue

TheStreet Recommends

saw the largest spending average of $44.83 per visit in October. Its drop in spending from January to October was 5.32%.

How have the other grocery stores fared? Here's a brief rundown.



enjoyed the next largest spending average. The average user spent $41.86 per visit in October. Publix's January to October drop was 7.81%.

Stop & Shop closely followed with average spending of $41.60 per customer.

SuperValu, Inc. grocery conglomerate


-- which includes brands like




, and

Shop 'n Save

saw customers spending an average of $38.62 per visit. That's a 16.11% drop January to October.

Customers at

Food Lion


spent $33.83 per visit on average in October. That's down 11.70%, January to October.

It seems that the average consumer is spending their "whole paycheck" elsewhere. Venues who market themselves as cheaper alternatives are making great strides. That's pretty good considering a down economy with overall spending reductions.

Everyone has to eat -- but grocery vendors like may start looking a little lean.

Geezeo's Main Street Spending Index tracks more than 4 million consumer transactions from 800 companies doing business in the United States and Canada. Market segments include retail, dining out, entertainment, household and utilities. Data is anonymously collected weekly and based on up-to-date bank information.

To view the full index and see how other stocks are performing, click here:

Main Street Spending Index


For more information about Geezeo or to track your own expenses and find ways to save, visit More than half of people using Geezeo's free budget tools are saving an estimated $1,200 annually.