Whole Foods to Sell 32 Stores in FTC Settlement

Whole Foods Market this morning said it has agreed to sell 32 stores — most of which are closed — to settle its antitrust case with the Federal Trade Commission.

AUSTIN, Texas — Whole Foods Market here this morning said it has agreed to sell 32 stores — most of which are closed — to settle its antitrust case with the Federal Trade Commission.

The locations include 19 shuttered Wild Oats sites, 10 of which had been closed by Wild Oats before the two chains merged in 2007, and nine of which were closed by Whole Foods following the merger. The closed sites include six in Arizona, three in Nevada, two in Colorado, two in Oregon, and one each in Florida, Kentucky, Maine, Missouri, Nebraska and Utah.

The 13 operating stores encompass 12 Wild Oats locations and one Whole Foods store, including five in Colorado, two in Arizona and one each in Connecticut, Missouri, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon and Utah.

Whole Foods also agreed to sell Wild Oats trademarks and other intellectual property associated with Wild Oats stores. The company has six months to market the properties.

The original acquisition, which was finalized in August of 2007, included 109 Wild Oats locations. Thirty-five of those — under the Henry’s and Sun Harvest banners — were sold immediately to Los Angles-based Smart & Final. Whole Foods then closed several of the location and had converted several others to the Whole Foods banner.

As of Jan. 18, 2009, Whole Foods operated 279 stores, including 268 in the U.S.; six stores in Canada; and five stores in the United Kingdom.