Whole 2006

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BUSINESS STRATEGY
KRAMER SPRING 2007

CASE DISCUSSION ASSIGNMENT QUESTIONS

Case 1 Whole Foods Market in 2006:
Mission, Core Values, and Strategy

Assignment Questions

1. What are the chief elements of the strategy that Whole Foods Market is pursuing?

2. Is the strategy well matched to recent developments and conditions in the natural and organic foods segment of the foodretailing industry?

3. Do you think John Mackey has a good strategic vision for Whole Foods? Why or why not? What do you like/dislike about the company’s motto “Whole Foods, Whole People, Whole Planet?” Do the motto and the principles underlying it (Exhibit 1) really matter at this company or are they just nice words and cosmetic window dressing? Explain.

4. Do Whole Foods Market’s core values aspresented in case Exhibit 3 really matter? Are they “real” or just cosmetic window dressing? What evidence can you cite to support your answer? Have Whole Foods’ core values contributed to the company’s success? Why or why not?

5. How well is Whole Foods Market performing from a financial perspective? Do some number-crunching using the data in case Exhibits 9 and 10 to support your answer. Usethe financial ratios presented in Table 1 of Chapter 4 (pages 98-99) as a basis for doing your calculations.

6. How well is Whole Foods Market performing from a strategic perspective? Does Whole Foods enjoy a competitive advantage over its 3 chief rivals—Wild Oats, Fresh Market and Trader Joe’s? Does the company have a winning strategy?

7. What recommendations would you make to John Mackeyregarding the actions that Whole Foods’ management needs to take to sustain the company’s growth and financial performance?

Case 2 Oliver’s Markets

Assignment Questions

1. What are the key elements of the strategy at Oliver’s Market? Which of the five generic competitive strategies discussed in Chapter 5 is Oliver’s Market pursuing?
2. What competitive pressures must Oliver’s Market beprepared to deal with? What do we learn about the nature and strength of the competitive pressures Oliver’s faces from doing a five-forces analysis of competition (as described in Chapter 3)? Which of the five competitive forces is the strongest?
3. Based on your analysis of the competitive pressures, is the supermarket industry in the Sonoma County area (where Oliver’s is located) competitivelyattractive? Why or why not? Is there a potential for a company like Oliver’s Market to realize above-average profits and return on investment doing business in Sonoma County?
4. What driving forces are operating in the supermarket industry in Sonoma County?
5. What does a strategic group map reveal about the positions of the major players in the Sonoma County retail food market? Is Oliver’s in agood position on the map? Why or why not? Who are Oliver’s closest and toughest competitors?
6. What are the key success factors for competing in the supermarket industry in Sonoma County?
7. What is your assessment of Oliver’s financial performance and financial condition? Is the company in good financial shape? Why or why not? You should use the financial ratio summary in Table 4.1 of Chapter4 as a guide for doing the calculations needed to support your assessment of how well Oliver’s market is performing.
8. Based on case Exhibit 6, how well does Oliver’s financial performance compare to the industry averages? Based on case Exhibit 8, how well is Oliver’s performing compared to key competitors?
9. What does a SWOT analysis reveal about the attractiveness of Oliver’s situation? Justhow attractive is the company’s situation and position?
10. Based on your analysis of the supermarket industry in Sonoma County and Oliver’s situation, what problems and issues should Steve and Tom consider? Which ones are top priorities? Which are low priorities?
11. Should Oliver’s expand? If so, which site or sites should they purchase? Should Tom be allowed to buy into the new store?...
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