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    Whole Foods to Pinpoint Store Closures by Month's End

    AUSTIN, Tex. -- Whole Foods here plans to close fewer stores than originally planned following its acquisition of Boulder, Colo.-based Wild Oats, and will identify those stores by the end of the month, a company official said late last week at the Goldman Sachs Global Retailing Conference in New York.

    AUSTIN, Tex. -- Whole Foods here plans to close fewer stores than originally planned following its acquisition of Boulder, Colo.-based Wild Oats, and will identify those stores by the end of the month, a company official said late last week at the Goldman Sachs Global Retailing Conference in New York.

    Walter Robb, co-chief operating officer of the powerhouse retailer of organic and natural foods, also said Whole Foods was "absolutely" on track to meet its goal of $12 billion in annual sales by 2010.

    Whole Foods had recently revealed plans for the Boulder, Colo. market and Rocky Mountain region, where the retailer said that by experimenting with new store formats like “Whole Foods Express” and re-tooling and investing in capital improvements in its existing stores, it believes it can keep all Whole Foods and Wild Oats stores in the area open.

    However, in Oregon, local reports claimed Whole Foods plans to close two Wild Oats outlets, in Portland's Southwest Hillsdale neighborhood and at the Bridgeport Village mall in Tualatin. Whole Foods operates a store nearby the Hillsdale Wild Oats.

    Expected within the next two months, those two closures will displace about 99 employees, who have been offered jobs at other Whole Foods stores in Oregon, Ron Megahan, president of Whole Foods’ Northwest region, said.

    Megahan also reportedly said prices will come down at the remaining Wild Oats units.

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