Whole Foods By Half, More or Less

Driven past the intersection of Forest Lane and Preston Road recently? If so you've seen the mammoth new Whole Foods scheduled to open in about four weeks; really, you can't miss the thing. Looks like a spaceship landed next to a CVS. It's supposed to be quite the site when it's open; no doubt the mayor, a frequent shopper at the current northwest Dallas location across the street, will be found lounging in its spa once she's outta office next year, lucky her. Bet you didn't know that exterior design alone cost a million bucks. Fancy. Pants.

Well, we do hope the thing's paid for. After we left Friday, the Associated Press posted a story in which it was reported that shares of Austin-based Whole Foods Market Inc. fell to a 52-week low at the end of last week--"one day after the organic and natural foods retailer warned of slower growth in sales next year." Writes AP business writer David Koenig:

The shares plunged $13.86, or 23.05 percent, to close at $46.26 -- 65 cents below the previous 52-week low -- on the Nasdaq Stock Market. The stock had dipped as low as $45.56 during trading.

Whole Foods has enjoyed a great run, as health-conscious shoppers paid premium prices for its fancy and organic produce. But analysts have warned that slowing consumer spending and tougher competition from mainstream grocery stores could squeeze Whole Foods.

It's up slightly this morning, to $47.07 last time we looked. Musta been that $128.48 we spent this weekend on a gallon of mile, three sausages and a couple of apples, or close to. Every little bit helps. --Robert Wilonsky

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