Last year, Whole Foods Market’s U.K. operation faced significant challenges as it reported record pre-tax losses of over 50%. Customers shifted away from the premium offerings in response to inflationary pressures. Currently, Whole Foods Market operates seven physical stores in London, U.K. According to the recently filed accounts for its U.K. trading arm, Fresh & Wild, the pre-tax operating losses increased to 53%, rising from £17.2 million to £26.3 million in 2022. Additionally, the sales figures also declined by 3%, amounting to £91.6 million, with the reduced demand being attributed to higher costs caused by inflation.
The difficulties for Whole Foods Market in the U.K. began in 2021 when the chain experienced a 4% drop in sales to £94.3 million, mainly due to decreased demand during lockdowns and a decline in tourism levels. In the same year, the gross profit margin was negatively impacted, decreasing from 37% to 36%, primarily driven by input cost inflation and higher supply chain expenses. Furthermore, administrative expenses surged by 13%, reaching £59 million. Whole Foods Market was acquired by Amazon in 2017 through a £13 billion deal, and since that time, its U.K. operations haven’t made any profit, with cumulative pre-tax losses of £70.5 million. Despite its challenges in the U.K. market, the company continues to navigate the dynamic retail landscape.