Whole Foods’ Shareholder Battle Sets Up a Clash of Foodie Gurus

Whole Foods’ Shareholder Battle Sets Up a Clash of Foodie Gurus

click photo for more information
Whole Foods’ Shareholder Battle Sets Up a Clash of Foodie Gurus
Jana Partners, an activist investor that bought a stake in the grocery chain and is now threatening to shake up the board, overhaul operations — and possibly push for a sale. Decrying Gap Inc. and Harris Teeter. The investment firm also tapped food author and former New York Times columnist Mark Bittman as a consultant, […]

Whole Foods Market Inc. Chief Executive Officer John Mackey was supposed to spend this week celebrating the release of his new book, a paean to vegan eating that debuts on Tuesday.

Instead, he’s facing a looming battle with Jana Partners, an activist investor that bought a stake in the grocery chain and is now threatening to shake up the board, overhaul operations — and possibly push for a sale.

Decrying Whole Foods’ poor performance, Jana has enlisted a team of food and retail luminaries that includes former CEOs from Gap Inc. and Harris Teeter. The investment firm also tapped food author and former New York Times columnist Mark Bittman as a consultant, a sign that Jana is ready to dig into the nitty-gritty of organic produce.

“Bittman can provide tremendous leadership in understanding how to appeal to Whole Foods’ core customer,” said Asit Sharma, an analyst at Motley Fool. “They want to see if there’s a way to both improve execution and polish up a brand that’s lost more than a bit of its luster.”

Jana’s blitz on Whole Foods sent the shares up 10 percent, their biggest rally in more than two years. Before the gain, the stock had climbed just 1 percent in 2017, lagging behind the 5.2 percent advance of the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.

Investors are betting that Jana can either fix Whole Foods or sell it for a good price. The investment firm disclosed an 8.3 percent stake in a filing, saying it would seek talks with management and push for a review of Whole Foods’ strategic alternatives. Jana also may nominate at least three directors to help lead a turnaround.

The clash follows Whole Foods’ worst sales slump in more than a decade. Despite helping pioneer the organic-food movement, the grocery chain is increasingly losing share to mainstream supermarkets. Its same-store sales — a key benchmark — have declined for six straight quarters.

The Austin, Texas-based company said on Monday that it is “open to the views and opinions” of its investors. “We are committed to driving value for all Whole Foods Market shareholders and will continue to act to achieve this important objective,” it said in a statement.

Jana named three potential board nominees who could be part of a proxy fight next year: Glenn Murphy, who previously ran Gap; Thomas Dickson, the ex-CEO of Harris Teeter who helped sell that chain to Kroger Co.; and Meredith Adler, a former equity analyst who serves as a food consultant. 

The firm also brought on Bittman and skin-care executive Diane Dietz as advisers. Bittman, who teaches at Columbia University’s school of public health, is a celebrity in culinary circles. He wrote the “How to Cook Everything” series and appeared in Showtime’s “Years of Living Dangerously.”

Like Mackey, Bittman encourages a vegan lifestyle — but less aggressively. His “Eat Vegan Before 6:00” book promotes the idea of reserving meat and dairy for evening hours.

Mackey’s Mission

With this team of experts scrutinizing Whole Foods, Mackey is under more pressure to shape up the company quickly. A central question is whether the 63-year-old executive can handle day-to-day operations. Until the end of last year, he shared the CEO job with Walter Robb, who was more focused on that role.

When Mackey began running Whole Foods on a solo basis, he took full responsibility for rehabilitating a business that he co-founded in 1980 with a single store. Mackey built the company into an organic-food powerhouse, but it’s not clear how he will turn it around now.

“He’s been fantastic at building the brand, but you wonder if he has the bandwidth to be the operations guy, too,” said Jennifer Bartashus, an analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence.

Mackey also is pursuing a sideline as an author and food advocate. His new book, “The Whole Foods Diet,” makes the case for the health benefits of a vegan lifestyle.

In announcing its investment, Jana vowed to reassess everything from Whole Foods’ brand to the way it schedules worker hours. The firm also will examine the grocer’s new 365 concept: a chain of smaller stores aimed at younger shoppers.

Kroger Sale?

Still, it may be difficult for Jana to improve performance in the short term, said Brian Yarbrough, an analyst at Edward Jones. Even as Jana’s food gurus do their best to restore the company’s allure, an outright sale to a buyer like Kroger may make more sense, he said.

“It will be very tough to speed up the turnaround process,” he said. “The most upside would be with a sale.”

While Whole Foods needs to tighten up its operation and control costs, the company also has to reconnect with the food trends that fueled its growth in earlier days, according to Roger Davidson, an industry consultant. Whole Foods was once one of the only places to buy natural and organic foods — an advantage it no longer enjoys.

“The industry has really upped its game,” Davidson said. “They have to open that gap again.”

Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-04-10/whole-foods-shareholder-battle-sets-up-a-clash-of-foodie-gurus

Natural Ways to Put an End to Moles, Warts, Blackheads, Skin Tags and Age Spots

click photo for more information
Natural Ways to Put an End to Moles, Warts, Blackheads, Skin Tags and Age Spots
Skin conditions like moles, skin tags, clogged pores or skin breakouts are very common and most likely at one point or another you have, or will, have to deal with them. Dealing with them usually involves using various skin care products, which have mixed results, yet they all have one thing in common – they […]

College Students Heard Whimpering, But Had No Idea What Was Hiding On Campus

click photo for more information
College Students Heard Whimpering, But Had No Idea What Was Hiding On Campus
Hope For Paws was recently called to a campus where students spotted a homeless Chihuahua hiding in a field. They thought she might have given birth to puppies and knew she needed help ASAP. Thankfully, Eldad Hagar quickly showed up on the scene, with help and a cheeseburger in hand. The small family was hiding […]

Healthy Eating Inspiration From 16 Precious Animals Who Love Their Veggies

click photo for more information
Healthy Eating Inspiration From 16 Precious Animals Who Love Their Veggies
If you’re a parent, then you know the never-ending battle to get your kids to eat their vegetables. As we’ve seen countless times before, trying to force your children to eat their daily servings of veggies simply doesn’t work. And although we can attempt to mask them in a variety of ways, somehow our children […]

What They Converted This Old School Bus Into Is Simply Awesome. I Want This Thing So Bad.

click photo for more information
What They Converted This Old School Bus Into Is Simply Awesome. I Want This Thing So Bad.
It all started when they bought a 1995 International Flat Nose Genesis school bus for $3,000. They hoped to convert the school bus into a bus they could use for their band and ministry traveling. It sounds boring, but I never realized a school bus could end up looking this good. They drove 8 hours […]

Waxing On Your Period, And Other Grooming Questions You’re Too Afraid To Ask

click photo for more information
Waxing On Your Period, And Other Grooming Questions You’re Too Afraid To Ask
“Down-there” grooming is a touchy subject … literally. Whether you leave the hair-removal process up to the professionals or you prefer to do your own “landing strip” at home (yeah, we went there), you’re probably still wondering if you’ve got this thing all figured out. So we took one for the team and asked Uni […]

LOreal Agrees to Buy IT Cosmetics for $1.2 Billion in Cash

click photo for more information
LOreal Agrees to Buy IT Cosmetics for $1.2 Billion in Cash
LOreal SA agreed to acquire IT Cosmetics for $1.2 billion in its largest acquisition in eight years, adding more than 300 skin-care and makeup products to its lineup. IT Cosmetics, backed by TSG Consumer Partners, will become part of the Luxe division of LOreal as part of the all-cash transaction, according to a statement on […]

Why Korean Skincare Needs To Be Added To Your Beauty Arsenal Like, Yesterday

click photo for more information
Why Korean Skincare Needs To Be Added To Your Beauty Arsenal Like, Yesterday
In case you’re unaware, Asian skincare productsspecifically Korean onesare having a moment in the states right now. But, Korean Beautyalso known as ‘K Beauty’ also known as ‘K-I-need-it-now-bye Beauty’products can be difficult to find. Unless you like, studied Korean in college and/or have a vacation home in Seoul. So, enter Sokoglam, an online K Beauty […]

Kit, the Expa-backed social network for product reccos, lands $2.5 million in seed

click photo for more information
Kit, the Expa-backed social network for product reccos, lands $2.5 million in seed
Kit, the Expa-backed platform for product recommendation, has today announced the close of a $2.5 million from Social Capital, Precursor Ventures, April Underwood, Ellen Pao, Authentic Ventures, Black Angel Tech Fund, and Expa. Kit lets users choose and review products theyve used and owned to build kits. These kits normally focus on a certain theme […]

Beauty and the beast cw Cat kicks ass

click photo for more information
Beauty and the beast cw Cat kicks ass
Read more: https://imgflip.com/gif/affd2

Blood Line

click photo for more information
Blood Line
Hiking on the Pacific Crest Trail in my late forties, and thinking about conversations I never got to have with my mother. View this image › Alice Mongkongllite / BuzzFeed During the six-hour flight to Seattle from my home in North Carolina in the summer of 2013, my period arrived before my flight landed. So […]

One Artist Creates A Breathing Chamber Of Rainbows In Madrid. It’s So Beautiful.

click photo for more information
One Artist Creates A Breathing Chamber Of Rainbows In Madrid. It’s So Beautiful.
The Palacio de Cristal is in Madrid’s Retiro Park. It’s full of beautiful plants, walks and buildings. One of the most impressive is a greenhouse you have to see for yourself. The glass and metal building resembles a giant greenhouse (which is good, since it was one originally). It housed exotic flora and fauna from […]

Life in the Peoples Republic of WeChat

click photo for more information
Life in the Peoples Republic of WeChat
Ive had WeChat on my phone since a vacation to Beijing last year, when friends there essentially ordered me to download it. More than 760 million people use it regularly worldwide; its basically how people in China communicate now. Its actually a lot of trouble not to use WeChat when youre there, and socially weird, […]

People Often Stare And Laugh At What This Guy Does With His Blind Dog. But I Think It’s The Best.

click photo for more information
People Often Stare And Laugh At What This Guy Does With His Blind Dog. But I Think It’s The Best.
When this man bikes down the street with his dog, people often give him long stares. It’s not their fault, he’s doing something pretty strange. He is pulling his beloved dog, Keller, behind him. She also happens to be a disable (but loving) dog and riding in a kayak. They are quite a pair. This […]

This Little Girl Never Saw Or Heard Her Mother Until This Amazing Moment

click photo for more information
This Little Girl Never Saw Or Heard Her Mother Until This Amazing Moment
At 2 years old, Nicolly Pereira never saw nor heard her mother. This toddler from Brazil was both deaf and blind. She was diagnosed with pediatric glaucoma after birth. The glaucomas in her eyes were so bad, she couldn’t even see light. Her mother was desperate to help her little girl. Nicolly received seven different […]

Dad Says Theres 1 Thing Hell NEVER Do if He Has a GirlThen Mom Sees This in the Bathtub

click photo for more information
Dad Says Theres 1 Thing Hell NEVER Do if He Has a GirlThen Mom Sees This in the Bathtub
It’s the first thing her husband told her when he found out they were expecting a girl… By Courtney Westlake When we found out we were expecting a little girl, my husband, Evan, told me one thing: I dont do girl hair. Braids, brushing, pigtailsforget it. Evan grew up with two sisters and has laughed […]
More