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Whole Foods Aims To Change Its ‘Pricey’ Reputation

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A customer shops for produce at a Whole Foods Market in California

(credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

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LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Whole Foods is trying to change its reputation for being too pricey.

The grocery chain is offering more promotions and discounts in all of its stores, and lately it has held many of its grocery prices flat despite its own costs rising.

Whole Foods executives say that while certain product prices may be going up, the number of good deals consumers will find will make up for that.

In its recent quarter, Whole Foods opened six stores, focusing on these new markets where its says rent is lower, square footage is smaller and competition for natural, organic food isn’t as competitive, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.

Core customers at Whole Foods spend, on average, nearly three times more than new customers, the company told the Journal.

Whole Foods also is facing new competition. Lower-priced organic grocer Trader Joe’s is expanding its geographic reach from the two coasts.

Over the past few months, Whole Foods signed eight new leases for smaller stores averaging 33,000 square feet, which is about 25% smaller than some of its traditional stores. The company is on track to open 24 to 27 new stores in fiscal 2012 and another 28 to 30 in fiscal 2013.

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