The company said Wednesday it's building a team to focus exclusively on the concept, and that it's already negotiating leases and plans to start opening stores next year.
Walter Robb, co-CEO of Whole Foods, said the stores will feature a "modern, streamlined design, innovative technology and a curated selection," and that more details will be provided before Labor Day. A representative for Whole Foods, Kate Lowery, said a name hasn't yet been selected for the new concept.
The plans come as Whole Foods, which has more than 400 stores, faces slowing growth amid intensifying competition. For its fiscal second quarter, sales at established locations rose 3.6 per cent, or 3.1 per cent when excluding the benefit of the timing of Easter this year.
The figure, a key metric of health, fell short of the 5.3 per cent increase analysts expected, according to FactSet.
Shares of Whole Foods Market Inc. dropped more than 11 per cent to $42.40 after-hours.
Total sales were $3.65 billion for the quarter ended April 12, also falling short of the $3.71 billion analysts expected, according to FactSet.
Profit rose to $158 million, or 44 cents per share. That was a penny more than expected.