Whole Foods shares tumbled as investors lost faith in the grocer's command on the organic food market
Whole Foods stock plummeted nearly 20 percent Wednesday, its biggest one-day fall in more than five years, after informing skittish investors late on Tuesday that sales at established stores have slowed.
The grocery chain has been fighting to compete in an increasingly crowded natural and organic foods market, a niche it once had cornered.
“It’s just gotten to be a very big niche and in some ways, it’s gone mainstream,” John Mackey, chief executive, told analysts on a conference call, the Financial Times reports.
Walmart’s U.S. division plans to introduce 100 Wild Oats-branded organic products ranging from olive oil and canned black beans, Reuters reports. Walmart said those products would be priced at least 25 percent below branded organic foods. With that kind of competition, Wall Street may not have an appetite for Whole Foods for long.