Quick Take: Goodbye, Wild Oats

Does Warren Buffett buy organic? Not by most accounts. But if he did, he'd soon have to cross a great place off his hometown shopping list, leaving him with Whole Foods Market (Nasdaq: WFMI  ) . On Oct. 28, the Wild Oats natural foods market in downtown Omaha will close its doors permanently.

Buffett and his neighbors can't claim to be surprised. I, too, should have seen it coming when the Wild Oats near my home told shoppers this weekend that it had three weeks of life left.

The closings are part of a restructuring plan put in place when Whole Foods completed its $565 million merger with Wild Oats in August. Last month, co-Chief Operating Officer Walter Robb told Bloomberg that up to 10 stores could be affected. I've heard of at least seven closings so far.

For the stores that remain, there's plenty of work to do. At these locations Whole Foods CEO John Mackey plans to add "jet propulsion" to help revitalize comps back into the double digits.

I'm not convinced that's possible. Wild Oats shoppers have always struck me as a breed apart. But that could be because I shopped at a Wild Oats that specialized in low, low prices -- a sharp contrast to the "whole paycheck" experience of Whole Foods. My local store is now dying.

Goodbye, Wild Oats. It was nice while it lasted. (Sniff.)


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