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29 July 2007

Waitrose sticks it to Whole Foods

Waitrose has got trading standards on to Whole Foods, according to The Sunday Times. It seems that Waitrose and at least two others, have suggested that Whole Foods' policy of selling anything from the UK as 'local' is more than a little misleading. I have made no secret of what I think of Whole Foods, but it seems it will take trading standards a couple of weeks to publish its findings. I'm not sure what the law on this is, but I wonder whether trading standards will actually have much in the way of teeth to act on this. Anyway, this will be one to watch.


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From an American standpoint, anything within Britain would indeed be local -- Land's End to John of Groats would fit inside California. Not that Whole Food's advertising need apply in any way to ethics; their takeover policy as it relates to their lesser competitors puts them comfortably in bed with Starbucks.

I think they're likely to learn from their Kensington overextension that London's really big spenders, i.e. the global taxdodgers, are more interested in truffles and caviar than in organic mushrooms. Those with a very long memory will recall that this same white elephant of a retail palace was the death of Biba.

I'm wrong. Whole Foods is in the Barkers building, Biba was in Derry and Tom's. But they represent a similarly grandiose expansion.

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