Whole Foods is about to get a lot cheaper

Cramer: Whole Foods Knows It Needs to Do Better

Whole Foods appears to be losing its loyal customer base.

The company's sales at stores open at least a year, or same-store sales, declined 0.2% last quarter, marking the first quarterly drop since 2009. So far this quarter, same-store sales are down 2.1%.

Whole Foods is hoping to stem the declines by increasing discounts.

"If we had a magic bullet, we've already shot it," Whole Foods co-CEO John Mackey said Wednesday on an earnings call. "We don't think there's anything we can do immediately except increase promotional activity to drive sales. We think it's basic blocking and tackling."

That means customers can expect to see a lot more sales on produce, meat, seafood, and other items in Whole Foods stores over the next couple of months.

Instead of just lowering prices across the board, stores will be highlighting more limited-time discounts, executives said.

Whole Foods is battling an increasingly competitive market for organic and natural foods.

"Our partners at United Natural Foods estimated over 70,000 new points of retail for natural and organic products over the last three years," Mackey said. "In this dynamic and increasingly competitive marketplace, we recognize we need to move faster and go deeper in creating a solid foundation for our long-term profitable growth."

Mackey said the company needed to do a better job of explaining to customers why Whole Foods' organic food was superior to the organic offerings at more conventional grocers, such as Walmart and Kroger, where prices may be lower.

Whole Foods will also be introducing a range of lower-priced products at its new chain of 365 by Whole Foods Market stores.

The company plans to open three 365 stores in fiscal-year 2016 and up to 10 stores in fiscal-year 2017.

Mackey says the new chain will be to Whole Foods what Nordstrom Rack is to Nordstrom.

"The time is right to take the high-quality standards we have developed over the last 35-plus years, and make them more broadly accessible through a streamlined, value-focused format and serve communities we would not be able to reach with our larger Whole Foods Market stores," Mackey said.

See more Whole Foods in the gallery below:

21 PHOTOS
Whole Foods around the country
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Whole Foods is about to get a lot cheaper
A customer enters the Whole Foods Market in Superior, Colorado United States July 26, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
Tomatoes are pictured at a Whole Foods store in San Diego, California, U.S., August 28, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Grass-fed beef products are pictured at a Whole Foods Market in Pasadena, California, U.S., July 24, 2017. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni
Cut vegetables for sale are pictured inside a Whole Foods Market in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S. June 16, 2017. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
An organic chicken is seen for sale above an explanation of animal treatment standards at a Whole Foods Market in Medford, Massachusetts, U.S., July 24, 2017. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
Juice drinks for sale are pictured inside a Whole Foods Market in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S. June 16, 2017. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
A sign explains animal treatment standards in the meat department at a Whole Foods Market in Medford, Massachusetts, U.S., July 24, 2017. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
Hummus for sale is pictured inside a Whole Foods Market in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S. June 16, 2017. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
Customers walk by the Whole Foods Market in Boulder, Colorado May 10, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
The inside of a Whole Foods Market is pictured in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S. June 16, 2017. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
A Whole Foods Market is pictured in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S. June 16, 2017. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Customers are seen outside a Whole Foods Market in Austin, Texas, U.S. December 14, 2016. REUTERS/Mohammad Khursheed
The inside of a Whole Foods Market is pictured in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S. June 16, 2017. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
Jeff Turnas, President of 365 by Whole Foods Market, walks through a 365 by Whole Foods Market grocery store ahead of its opening day in Los Angeles, U.S., May 24, 2016. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni
The salad bar is pictured at a 365 by Whole Foods Market grocery store ahead of its opening day in Los Angeles, U.S., May 24, 2016. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni
An employee checks packaged meat at a 365 by Whole Foods Market grocery store ahead of its opening day in Los Angeles, U.S., May 24, 2016. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni
Express cashier kiosks are pictured at a 365 by Whole Foods Market grocery store ahead of its opening day in Los Angeles, U.S., May 24, 2016. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni
Customers check out at a Whole Foods Market in New York City, U.S., February 7, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
The inside of a Whole Foods Market is pictured in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S. June 16, 2017. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
A view of fruit and vegetables in a Whole Foods Market shop in London.
A view of cheese in a Whole Foods Market shop in London.
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