Gilliland Sees Little Interest in Oats Sites

The founder of Wild Oats told SN last week he does not expect to see much buyer interest in the 32 stores Whole Foods Market is seeking to sell as part of its antitrust settlement with the Federal Trade Commission.

BOULDER, Colo. — The founder of Wild Oats told SN last week he does not expect to see much buyer interest in the 32 stores Whole Foods Market is seeking to sell as part of its antitrust settlement with the Federal Trade Commission.

“My personal opinion is that a lot of those stores that were operating might have been closed in the not-too-distant future,” said Mike Gilliland, who is now the chief executive officer of Sunflower Farmers Market here.

Although his chain is expanding rapidly in some of the markets where Austin, Texas-based Whole Foods is seeking to sell stores and leases, he said his company is probably not interested. “Most of them are either overlapping with us or are just closed leases, and you don’t really need to make a deal with Whole Foods to do those,” he said.

As previously reported, Whole Foods agreed to sell 19 shuttered Wild Oats locations, 12 operating Wild Oats stores and one operating Whole Foods store to satisfy an antitrust case brought by the FTC. It is also seeking to sell the Wild Oats name and trademarks.

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