A US court will meet next month to rule on the Federal Trade Commission’s request to block the merger between Whole Foods Market and Wild Oats Markets.

The two retailers said yesterday (12 June) that a court hearing in the District of Columbia will start on 31 July.

The FTC is challenging the merger between Whole Foods and Wild Oats on competition grounds. The body argues that the relevant competitive arena should be limited to natural and organic food stores and not include conventional supermarkets.

Whole Foods and Wild Oats have vowed to fight the FTC. Last week, Whole Foods chairman and CEO John Mackey said: “The FTC has failed to recognise the robust competition in the supermarket industry, which has grown more intense as competitors increase their offerings of natural, organic and fresh products, renovate their stores and open stores with new banners and formats resembling Whole Foods Market.”

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