AUSTIN, Texas — Whole Foods Market here said Wednesday it plans to open "wellness clubs" at five of its stores before the end of 2011 to help educate consumers about healthier lifestyles.
The clubs will be located at single stores in New York; Chicago; Boston; Oakland, Calif.; and Princeton, N.J., "and if the prototypes do well, we would open more in 2012 as part of a growth initiative," John Mackey, chairman and co-chief executive officer, told analysts during a conference call. "Our purpose would be to educate people how to eat better to achieve the highest degree of their health potential," he explained.
The clubs will be located within existing space at existing stores, he noted. "We still have some bugs to work out of the concept, but we see a lot of opportunity for steady growth over the next several years," Mackey said.
The first wellness clubs will open in June or July, with others to follow at the rate of one per month, with all five scheduled to be open by the end of the year, he added.