WILD OATS STORE GETS HEALTH INFO SECTION

BOULDER, Colo. -- Wild Oats Natural Marketplace here unveiled its first Natural Knowledge department within its Natural Living section of a prototype store that opened earlier this month.The section in the Jefferson County, Colo., store carries brochures, pamphlets, books and touchscreen kiosks that pull up information on different topics ranging from recipes to various body ailments, said Sonja Tuitele,

BOULDER, Colo. -- Wild Oats Natural Marketplace here unveiled its first Natural Knowledge department within its Natural Living section of a prototype store that opened earlier this month.

The section in the Jefferson County, Colo., store carries brochures, pamphlets, books and touchscreen kiosks that pull up information on different topics ranging from recipes to various body ailments, said Sonja Tuitele, spokeswoman. "It's the first step of our re-engineering the Natural Living departments," she said.

Plans are under way to roll out the Natural Knowledge department in Wild Oats' other prototypes, Tuitele noted.

Andrew Wolf, analyst, BB&T Capital Markets, Richmond, Va., told SN the new format is a "cut above" the traditional Wild Oats stores with a more spacious atmosphere, larger store size, and attractive design elements.

The Natural Knowledge section is a "useful" introduction, he said.

"Natural foods is a fairly knowledge-intensive endeavor because of the health component, and the [Natural Knowledge section] is a good idea because the sector attracts more conventional customers who have knowledge gaps about natural foods and healthy living."

The prototype also features a new store-within-a-store natural health and beauty care area, expanded produce and bulk food offerings, and separate meat and seafood sections.