WHOLE FOODS GOES EXTRA LARGE

AUSTIN, Texas -- Whole Foods Market has opened its largest store in its headquarters market here, an 80,000-square-foot prototype that includes expanded offerings in several departments.nd a Whole Baby center, which also includes organic clothing, according to a report by Stephen Chick, analyst, JP Morgan Securities, New York."The store has been created via learnings and best practices," Chick said

AUSTIN, Texas -- Whole Foods Market has opened its largest store in its headquarters market here, an 80,000-square-foot prototype that includes expanded offerings in several departments.

nd a Whole Baby center, which also includes organic clothing, according to a report by Stephen Chick, analyst, JP Morgan Securities, New York.

"The store has been created via learnings and best practices," Chick said in the report. "Whole Foods has attempted to gather the best ideas of its core store base + as well as certain competitors."

He also noted that the store "has a heavy restaurant influence, with a variety of ethnic foods."

The store contains a sit-down dining area called Lamar Street Greens, which serves made-to-order salads and alcoholic beverages, Whole Foods said in a prepared release. In addition, the 25,000-square-foot roof garden contains seating and space for entertainers.

Other features include a walk-in beer cooler, a seafood department where fishmongers try to entertain customers by tossing fish to each other and an army of culinary professionals.

Whole Foods reportedly plans to include elements from the store in the new locations it has under development. Some 58 stores are in the pipeline for the chain, which operates 166 locations in the United States, Canada and England.

The company recently signed a lease for what will be its second-largest location, a 75,000-square-foot store in Annapolis, Md., according to a report in the Baltimore Business Journal.