The Fresh & Wild name will not disappear from the UK once parent company Whole Foods Market arrives.
The company had said that Fresh & Wild stores would be closed and replaced with a Whole Foods Market store once larger sites had been found nearby that better suited its size (The Grocer, 4 February, p6).
But a source close to the business said this week that no new Fresh & Wilds would open, but the name would continue on its existing smaller stores and would also be used on certain own label products in its UK Whole Foods Market stores.
Work is well under way on the "huge job" of converting the Barker's department store in Kensington, London, into its 75,000 sq ft flagship store, ready for early next year. However, the source said an opening date, believed to be in March, had not been decided while there was still so much conversion work to do.
In June, The Grocer revealed the world's largest natural food retailer was believed to have 30 sites lined up in the UK for new stores. Chairman and chief executive John Mackey previously outlined ambitions to eventually have 70 stores in the UK, with the openings intended to be a springboard into the rest of Europe.