Whole Foods Market is to shut its Fresh & Wild store in Notting Hill next month, as the long-awaited opening of its first Whole Foods Market outlet nears.

News of the development came in a memo to suppliers, who were warned to expect a wind-down of deliveries in the weeks leading up to the closure.

Whole Foods Market told The Grocer this week that closing the store was consistent with its plan to shut down the smaller Fresh & Wild outlets when a larger Whole Foods Market was opening nearby - although sources close to the company had previously denied this would happen (The Grocer, 21 October, p6). Keeping the Notting Hill store open once the massive Kensington store commenced trading in June would create a customer overlap and threaten sales cannibalisation, said a Whole Foods Market spokeswoman.

The company was confident the majority of Fresh & Wild's Notting Hill customers would travel the extra two miles to the new Kensington Whole Foods store, she said.

Staff at the Notting Hill Fresh & Wild had been offered new positions at Kensington.

Whole Foods Market had no plans to close any other Fresh & Wild stores in the short term, she added.