NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- A Whole Foods (WFM) shareholder is said to have met with activist investors in order to discuss making dramatic changes at the organic grocery chain, which includes replacing management and even possibly selling the company, Bloomberg reported earlier today, citing sources.
One of the Bloomberg reporters that broke the story, Craig Giammona, appeared on Friday afternoon's "Bloomberg Markets: Americas" to further discuss the matter.
Investors "have concerns about the management of the company, the way it has been run," Giammona said. "Obviously you know they have a high profile CEO in John Mackey who just announced he's taking over full control, with [co-CEO] Walter Robb leaving."
What it comes down to is that investors don't believe the company has been well run, it is a company that should be "resonating with millennials," but hasn't and they want to know what is wrong, Giammona continued.
In an attempt to reach millennials, Whole Foods launched a new store concept called "365" last year. The concept launched in a few locations and the company is said to be coming out with a 2.0 version next year.
"People kind of think that there is hope [in 365] for growth, but it's too early to tell," Giammona said.
Going back to the management issues BloombergTV's David Gura questioned Giammona about the company's announcement that there would no longer be two CEOs going forward. He asked Giammona about the issues that led to that decision.
"What we know is that they've been in a slump," he responded. "It's their biggest slump in a long time, five straight quarters of declining same-store-sales. You know they had four straight quarters in 2009 in the wake of the financial crisis, which kind of makes sense...but if you look at the numbers, this is a company that was posting double digit increases year after year. They basically built the market for organic groceries in this country and now they've kind of hit the skids."
One issue plaguing the company is that it is no longer the only place for organic foods, but its prices remain high. Giammona made the argument that a consumer might wonder what the point of going to Whole Foods is if they can buy the chips and soda they want, as well as organic kale at Kroger (KR) for less money.
Gura finished by asking Giammona about a time table for these speculated changes at Whole Foods. Nobody is sure when something will happen, but the feeling is that the company needs to "get their house in order," he responded.
Separately, TheStreet Ratings objectively rated this stock according to its "risk-adjusted" total return prospect over a 12-month investment horizon. Not based on the news in any given day, the rating may differ from Jim Cramer's view or that of this articles's author. TheStreet Ratings has this to say about the recommendation:
We rate WHOLE FOODS MARKET INC as a Hold with a ratings score of C. The primary factors that have impacted our rating are mixed - some indicating strength, some showing weaknesses, with little evidence to justify the expectation of either a positive or negative performance for this stock relative to most other stocks. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its increase in net income, revenue growth and notable return on equity. However, as a counter to these strengths, we find that the stock has had a generally disappointing performance in the past year.
You can view the full analysis from the report here: WFM