Go to your local grocer, the chain grocers, then Walmart, Costco, Trader Joes, WFM, and see how many registers are open and how deep the lines are.......you'll see for yourself!
With 10k boomers retiring EVERYDAY health issues creeping up on these retiring hoards, eating healthy for many, is a growing issue!
NOTE, WFM and Trader Joes thrive despite having typically higher prices than say, a Walmart. Costco is great but a retired couple has less need for purchasing a weeks or months worth of anything short of TP or papertowels, or petfood, unless the kids are in town!
Both WFM and Trader Joes aren't even on the radars of alot of folks who are being told in growing numbers to get more exercise and eat healthy and this number grows, DAILY!
I think Piper Jaffray's assessment and subsequent downgrade defy logic!
Who has todays money afterall? RETIRED FOLKS! Sure alot of Boomers will never retire thanks to poor planning compounded by some very bad economic impacts on home values, 401k's etc but lets face it, when 10,000 of them are retiring daily(!) well, you don;t retire unless you have the funds to do so OR...you are ill, both scenarios which play into WFMs hand.
As for Walmart and others, it becomes a matter of shelf space. Walmart is currently so over loaded with product lines that they have filled their center aisles. But to give an example of health food at a Walmart...well you have to look for the gluten free food stuffs and when you find them, its almost as though Walmart has decided to symbolically participate. In otherwords, no real committment on the part of Walmart other than fresh fruit/veggies which is something EVERYONE offers already anyways.
I think WFM has a good year and as they fine tune prices to suit all angles of consideration, WFM takes off with the growing audience in need for healthy choices! All IMHO of course!
MORE.......Lets face it, more than a few ENTIRE INDUSTRIES were BORN to serve the BOOMERS back in the 1960's and beyond. This demographic juggernaut is now strengthening the entire med industry from BIO, to Nursing Homes/services.
It has also essentially FORCED the grocer industry to take seriously, the healthfood movement which is currently moving way beyond mere TREND and more into everyday considerations for this OLDER, RETIRED , BOOMER generation. To add fuel to the flames, corporations like CVS recently announced asking employees to essentially get healthy or pay an extra 50.00 per month for their healthcare. How far CVS can take this with HIPAA and all remains to be seen. In fact an entire governmental change in healthcare is now law, thanks to this demographic juggernaut. Not good but thats a different issue!
However, WFM has an undisputed edge on the fresh and healthy market place. Its merely a matter of fine tuning what they already do and as DEMAND GROWS, economy of scale will begin to lower prices for fresh, non-gen-modified products which I might add, BRING a PREMIUM price to the growers and grocers and always will until the gen-modified issue either goes away or clears itself up with certainty which is no where near arrival time currently. Expect to see gen-modified produce go down in price at the same time.
Bascially, DEMAND for non-gen-modified produce is just starting to form a tsunami amongst BOOMERS (and those who follow) and I expect this one phenom is going to force alot of change and help to justify higher produce prices because the demand will far exceed the reliable supply, for now anyways.
Piper's analyst must not be familiar with how mere BOOMER demograhics DROVE business in the 1960's, everything from fast food, to cereals, to little plastic toys handed out with fast food meals for instance.
Or how about wine sales today? Thank the JUGGERNAUT BOOMER-GEN! All IMHO of course........MACRO VIEW..