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    Wild Oats Sees Consecutive Positive Same-store Sales, Plans for 'Aggressive Store Development'

    BOULDER, Colo. - Natural and organic foods retailer Wild Oats Markets Inc. on Tuesday said sales increased 2.7 percent to $228.1 million in the third quarter ended Sept. 28, 2002, compared to $222.2 million in the third quarter of 2001.

    BOULDER, Colo. - Natural and organic foods retailer Wild Oats Markets Inc. on Tuesday said sales increased 2.7 percent to $228.1 million in the third quarter ended Sept. 28, 2002, compared to $222.2 million in the third quarter of 2001.

    The company's comparable store sales increased 5.6 percent compared with 5.5 percent in last year's third quarter. This was the seventh consecutive quarter of positive same-store sales, which reversed what was a negative trend in 2000.

    Increased comparable store sales, customer traffic and average sale per customer were driven by ongoing marketing initiatives, the retailer said.

    "We are encouraged that our sales performance continues to show positive momentum despite a weak economy," said Perry D. Odak, president and CEO. "We believe that this is the result of the improvements we have made in our stores and the continued growth in the natural and organic products industry. Our same-store sales were positive for the seventh consecutive quarter, even in light of more challenging year-over-year comparisons to the third quarter of 2001."

    Net income in the third quarter of 2002 was $2.2 million, or $0.08 per diluted share, compared with net loss of $2.9 million, or $0.12 per diluted share, in the same period last year.

    During the third quarter, Wild Oats made a major transition to Tree of Life, its new primary distribution partner.

    The company announced plans for an aggressive new store development program, remodeling of several of its existing stores, and increased investment in information systems and infrastructure aimed at reducing costs and improving operating margins. It plans to open three new stores in the first quarter of next year, and up to 10 additional locations throughout the remainder of 2003.

    Wild Oats Markets currently operates 99 natural foods stores in 23 states and British Columbia, Canada. The Company's markets include: Wild Oats Natural Marketplace, Henry's Marketplace, Nature's -- a Wild Oats Market, Sun Harvest and Capers Community Markets.

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