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    Whole Foods Strikes Deal for Johnnie’s Foodmaster

    To acquire leases of six of the 10 locations

    Whole Foods Market Inc. will purchase six leases from Johnnie's Foodmaster, a family-owned grocery chain based in Chelsea, Mass. The transaction is expected to close Nov. 30.

    Prior to the closing date, Johnnie's Foodmaster will close the six locations:  South Weymouth, Arlington, Charlestown, Brookline, Melrose and Somerville. Whole Foods Market intends to remodel each location, which averages 31,000 square feet, with the goal of reopening all six stores before the end of its 2013 fiscal year. Whole Foods Market does not expect the transaction to be material to sales or earnings for fiscal year 2013.

    Johnnie’s Foodmaster dates back to 1947 when John DeJesus, Sr. opened his first food market in East Cambridge. "To have the opportunity to sell to a company like Whole Foods Market has made a tough decision much easier," said John DeJesus, president of Johnnie's Foodmaster. "I know that my employees and our loyal customers are in the best hands, and that the communities will benefit greatly from the product selection and shopping experience that Whole Foods Market offers."

    The terms of the agreement are not being disclosed, but as part of the agreement, Whole Foods Market has guaranteed interviews to all Johnnie's Foodmaster employees at the six acquired locations with the goal of hiring as many as possible.

    Once the deal is complete, the Austin, Texas-based natural and organic foods retailer will have 26 stores in the Greater Boston area.

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