Whole Foods Named NRF’s Retail Innovator of the Year

Whole Foods Market has received the National Retail Federation’s Innovator of the Year award.

Co-CEO Walter Robb will accept the award on behalf of co-CEO and founder John Mackey at NRF’s 101st Annual Convention and Expo on Jan. 17.

Recipients of the Retail Innovator of the Year award have distinguished themselves as retail pioneers through the use of new, innovative or imaginative techniques, formats or service. Furthermore, they have demonstrated an ability to sustain and build this concept in the face of challenges.

Whole Foods is one of the top 12 supermarket companies in the United States and the world’s largest natural foods retail chain. Named the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 2003, Mackey is a strong believer in free market principles and empowerment management, and co-founded FLOW with Michael Strong to promote an integrated vision of entrepreneurship directed towards social good.

Robb joined Whole Foods in 1991 and operated the Mill Valley, Calif., store until he became president of the Northern Pacific Region in 1993, where he grew the region from two to 17 stores. He became EVP of operations in 2000, COO in 2001 and co-president in 2004. Now as co-CEO, Robb oversees six regions and is on the Whole Planet Foundation Board of Directors. An avid organic advocate, Robb is on the advisory board for the Organic Center for Education and Promotion.

“As evidenced by their loyal customer base and storied success, these visionaries have truly inspired the entire industry through their creativity, leadership, innovation and forward thinking,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “We are thrilled to be able to recognize them amongst their peers and look forward to witnessing their continued success.”

As the world’s largest retail trade association and the voice of retail worldwide, NRF represents retailers of all types and sizes, including chain restaurants and industry partners, from the United States and more than 45 countries abroad.

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