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Is The Reign Of Whole Foods Over?

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Those glorified days when "Whole Paycheck" was

the

place to shop for all your grocery needs, as long as your grocery needs included union-cut arugula from obscure South American countries, may be ending.

The Austin-based company is taking a beating in the press over its latest financial report.

"Whole Foods Wilting" and "Wholesale Sell-Off at Whole Foods" are not headlines that bring smiles to company execs.

A statement released to the media by the company says things may not be peachy-keen right now, but they will eventually be so once again.

"Our business model has been highly successful, and we remain very bullish on our growth prospects as the market for natural and organic products continues to grow and as our company continues to evolve; however, the challenging economic environment appears to be negatively impacting our sales," said John Mackey, chairman, chief executive officer, and co-founder of Whole Foods Market. "This, combined with our commitment to maintaining financial flexibility and investing prudently in our long-term growth, has led us to take a more conservative approach to our growth and business strategy over the short term."

Whole Foods is cutting back by half the number of new stores it expects to open in fiscal 2009. No word on how that will affect the Houston market; a new Whole Foods store was announced for the corner of Waugh and Dallas a while back.

-- Richard Connelly

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