|Received:||3/12/2009 5:34:26 PM|
|Agency:||Federal Trade Commission|
|Rule:||Whole Foods Market, Inc.; Docket No. 9324; Proposed Consent Agreement|
Comments:This consent order requires Whole Foods Market Inc. to close thirteen operating stores. One of these stores is at 7133 N. Oracle Rd., Tucson, AZ 85704. The order as applied to the afore mentioned store is anticompetitive. The purchase of the two Wild Oats Market stores in Tucson by Whole Foods Market Inc. was not anticompetitive. At the time of the purchase Whole Foods Market Inc. did not operate in Tucson. With the purchase of the two Wild Oats Market stores in Tucson, Whole Foods Market Inc. faced the following competitors, Sunflower Farmers Market Inc., Sprouts Farmer Market Inc., 17th Street Farmers Market Inc., Trader Joes Inc., and Food Conspiracy CO-OP. Thus Whole Foods Market Inc.’s purchase of the two Wild Oats Market1 stores in Tucson had no effect on competition in the segment of the food market in which Whole Foods Market Inc. operated. Requiring the closure of the Whole Foods Market Inc. store at 7133 N. Oracle Rd. on the Northwest side of Tucson is significantly anticompetitive. The Whole Foods Market Inc. store at 7133 N. Oracle Rd. competes with Sprouts Farmer Market Inc., Sunflower Farmers Market Inc., and Trader Joes Inc. Eliminating the Whole Foods Market Inc. at 7133 N. Oracle Rd. will reduce competition by 25 % in the Northwest side of Tucson. Furthermore each of these stores has unique products. Whole Foods Market Inc. stores are the only stores in Tucson that regularly carry Buffalo (Bison) steaks. If the Whole Foods Market Inc. store is closed at 7133 N. Oracle Rd., those of us who live on the Northwest side of Tucson will have to travel an additional ten miles to the Whole Foods Market Inc. store at 3360 E. Speedway Blvd. requiring the additional consumption of gasoline and thus energy which is at odds with Federal policy urging us to use less energy. Unless the portion of the consent degree requiring the divestiture of the thirteen operating stores is removed from this consent degree I will consider seeking a court order blocking this consent degree until an environmental impact assessment (NEPA) is performed.