S&P Docks Whole Foods’ Credit Rating

Citing a weaker operating performance, Standard & Poor’s here on Thursday lowered its corporate credit rating on Whole Foods Market one notch to “BB” from “BB+” and said its outlook was negative.

NEW YORK — Citing a weaker operating performance, Standard & Poor’s here on Thursday lowered its corporate credit rating on Whole Foods Market one notch to “BB” from “BB+” and said its outlook was negative. Austin, Texas-based Whole Foods reported its slowest sales growth in company history Wednesday, along with increased expenses associated with the integration of Wild Oats. “The downgrade reflects that operating performance and corresponding credit metrics were significantly weaker than expected through the first three quarters of 2008,” Charles Pinson-Rose, S&P analyst, said in a statement. “Our projection is there may only be modest improvement over the next 12 months.”

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