retail news in context, analysis with attitude

USA Today reports that Whole Foods is planning to open "an upscale health resort where guests could stay and learn about a healthier lifestyle ... The resort – which would use Whole Foods in its name -- would likely open in or near downtown Austin, where the company plans to expand its headquarters, perhaps within the next three years."

CEO John Mackey tells the paper that the company is negotiating for real estate, and looking for a hotel partner to operate the resort. If it works, it could lead to a chain of health resorts around the country.

"The health resort idea came from an in-house program to improve eating and lifestyle habits of Whole Foods employees -- focused on weight loss and reduction in blood pressure and cholesterol," the story says, noting that Mackey sees a business opportunity in spreading the concept beyond staff.
KC's View:
Some analysts are saying that this is a natural brand extension, but I'm not sure. It also could be that this strategy could hurt Whole Food's efforts to play down its "whole paycheck" image.

Other companies, like Starbucks, have been unsuccessful when they tried to parlay their image in one lifestyle category (coffee shops) to others (books, movies, music).

I'd just be careful, that's all I'm sayin'...