Publix to buy Whole Foods? - WNCN: News, Weather

Publix to buy Whole Foods?

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TAMPA, FL (WFLA) - The fight for your grocery "green" buying dollars is heating up.

With many people opting for "fresh", or natural and unprocessed food, grocery chains are responding.
Chatter on Wall Street has speculators believing that Publix Supermarkets may be ready to purchase “Whole Foods Market.”

The rumors alone have caused Whole Foods stock to go up by six percent in the last few days.

Publix offers many "green" products in their regular stores, and the Publix "Greenwise" market has an entire store devoted to natural products.

Specialty food stores, like "The Fresh Market" and "Whole Foods Market" devote aisle after aisle to natural, organic and farm fresh stuff.

But will a Publix-Whole Foods work?

Some Whole Foods customers in Carrollwood think so. “I think it could be a good fit only because the way Publix takes care of their employees, the way they manage their stores,” said Dr. Santo Bifulco. “I shop at Publix as well. It's always clean. They know what they're doing. You may not pay the least amount, but you always get a good value,” he said.

Publix has more than a thousand stores. It's spokesman told me, “We don't comment on rumors.”

Whole Foods Market has 365 stores. It’s spokesman also said, “We don't comment on rumors.”

For comparison, The Fresh Market has 131 stores.

I did get several comments from SPC Business Professor, Dr. Irv Degraw.

He points out; Publix is expanding and is very smart about what they do.

Degraw said Publix is very customer sensitive, and he added, he's not sure the rumored sale will ever really happen.

Ed Rocha is another Whole Foods Market customer, who is also a Publix and Greenwise shopper. He is not totally sold on a Publix-Whole Foods Market combo.

“I hope so. But I'm not sure” he said.

Others are also vying for your “green” grocery dollar. "Trader Joe's" opened a new store in Tampa and is building another in St. Petersburg.
Related story: 
Tampa's first Trader Joe's opens

SPC Professor Irv Degraw said "Whole Foods Market" may be trying to get other potential buyers to bid up the price for its operations.

He suspects, if the sale really does happen, Publix would likely keep Whole Foods Market and Publix, separate.

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