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Business Insider reports that Whole Foods' new CEO Jason Buechel, wants to triple the number of stores that the retailer opens each year, to roughly 30.

Buechel also says that "Whole Foods is looking at new store formats, including 'new ways that we can serve customers' with new store sizes and shapes. 'I can't share a lot today, but we've got a couple of examples that we've already done,' Buechel said. He pointed to the chain's 'Ideal Market Denver,' a Colorado store where Whole Foods is offering more organic products as well as additional sustainable offerings, such as bottled water that doesn't rely on single-use plastic containers … It also opened a location in New York City's financial district on January 11. The store features art deco design as well as a wide array of products local to New York, Whole Foods said of the opening. Shoppers can also stop by the meat counter to see the store's butcher at work."

Business Insider notes that "Buechel's goal contrasts with Amazon Fresh, which has reportedly paused new store openings," and "also contrasts with other Amazon-owned store chains. Last March, Amazon said it would close 68 stores, including all of its Amazon Books and Amazon 4-Star locations. "

Buechel's ambitions also come "as consumers resume visiting stores and turn away from grocery delivery services, which gained popularity during the early months of the pandemic. Grocery delivery sales fell 1.8% in December, even as sales through pick-up orders rose."

KC's View:

I'll be interested in seeing some of these new Whole Foods formats, especially because it has become a common observation that in its post-Amazon years, the company has lost a few miles off its fastball.  Opening more stores is one challenge, but opening better stores may be the more important goal.