Whole Foods’ British Invasion

Whole Foods Market has crossed the Atlantic. The natural- and organic-foods retailer has dropped anchor in London, opening a three-story, 80,000-sq.-ft. flagship in the city’s posh Kensington neighborhood. The store, Britain’s largest supermarket, is located in a landmark, Art Deco-styled former department store building that has been carefully restored and updated.

The new Whole Foods recalls the chain’s U.S. flagships in both assortment and services, but has a London vibe. A food hall on the top floor contains 13 dining venues, including a pub, with seating for more than 350 diners. There is even a DJ at night. And in keeping with the retailer’s “green” footprint, the store boasts a number of environmental features, including the offset of 100% of its electricity via a partnership with a wind-power supplier.

Whole Foods has a lot riding on its London location, which it envisions as the starting point for expansion throughout the United Kingdom and Europe. It reportedly spent a total of $7 million to build and open the store, and flew in 100 employees from the United States to assist with training. If the store is a hit, Whole Foods could open as many as 30 to 40 stores in the United Kingdom.

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