Australia’s largest organic and wholefood supermarket Macro Wholefoods Market is named one of the 10 to watch retailers for the first time by international food and grocery expert IGD.

IGD annually compiles a list of 10 retailers from around the world that it feels show strong growth prospects, global best practice and innovation, and this year selected Macro Wholefoods Market as a future star among the hundreds of retailers visited by IGD each year.

“Macro Wholefoods Market impressed us by the way it has responded to the green agenda and consumer concerns,” says Jonathan Gunz, report author and senior business analyst, IGD.

“A company’s stance on sustainability is fast becoming a key factor in consumer purchasing decisions.”

Macro Wholefoods Market actively targets what it calls the ‘conscious consumer’ with a range of more than 12,000 organic, natural and fair trade products, each of which has ‘a story to tell’ about the source of production and suppliers used.

Gunz says sustainability and innovative store formats are key themes for retailers starring in 2007 and beyond.

“Macro Wholefoods Market excels by communicating its business principles throughout its stores. It is bold enough to experiment with formats to better connect with customers, for example having in-store cafés, wellbeing centres located within its stores and even offering guided tours.

“Health, wellbeing and sustainability concerns are increasingly becoming mainstream and Macro Wholefoods Market is benefiting. This is evidenced by the number of new customers they are attracting who have never been to health stores before,” he adds.

Macro Wholefoods aims to grow its current eight Sydney and Melbourne stores to 35-40 nationwide and a possible export of the concept.

Other retailers making the Ten to Watch 2007 list include online giant Amazon, which is striking into the emerging online grocery market, and Indian conglomerate Reliance, which has taken first mover advantage in the dynamic and strategically important Indian retail sector.

“These retailers are successful in finding the ‘retail x factor’. That is, something unique and special that makes their concept stand out from the crowd. It is the best way to respond to rapidly evolving consumer trends,” concludes Gunz.