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April 14, 2010

UK: Whole Foods “confirms UK expansion plans”

US natural and organic retailer Whole Foods Market has reportedly confirmed its ambition to expand further into the UK market.

US natural and organic retailer Whole Foods Market has reportedly confirmed its ambition to expand further into the UK market.

Whole Foods co-president Walter Robb told the Financial Times that the company was eyeing locations that are smaller than the 75,000 sq ft store in London’s Kensington district.

The retailer opened the Kensington store in 2007 to much fanfare but, amid the global economic downturn and losses from its UK venture, the company put the brakes on any further expansion in the country.

However, Robb told the FT that Whole Foods was now “working” on expanding its business in the UK capital.

“We want to build more stores in London, it’s a fabulous city,” Robb said. “It’s harder to find real estate there… but we have some stuff there and we’re working on it.”

Officials at Whole Foods in the UK and the US could not be reached for comment as just-food went to press.

Reports of Whole Foods’ renewed interest in UK expansion comes after it was announced that UK organic sales fell by almost 13% in 2009.

However, on Monday (12 April), local certification body The Soil Association insisted that demand was showing some signs of returning as the UK economy moved out of recession.

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