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Whole Foods eyes growth in Chicago area


Whole Foods Market has acquired leases from Safeway for seven locations formerly operated as Dominick's stores. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Whole Foods expects the locations to remain closed for remodeling in 2014 and re-open as new Whole Foods Market stores in 2015. The transaction is expected to be slightly dilutive to earnings per share in fiscal year 2014, primarily due to the pre-opening rent associated with these new leases. The company has three stores in development in the Hyde Park and Englewood neighborhoods of Chicago and in Lake Forest with openings scheduled through calendar year 2017.

The leases are located in the neighborhoods and towns of Edgewater, Lincoln Park, Streeterville, Wet Loop, Elmhurst, Evanston, and Willowbrook.

"We are incredibly excited about this opportunity to quickly and significantly expand our presence in the greater Chicago area," said Michael Bashaw, Whole Foods Market Midwest regional president. "These locations fit well with our 19 existing stores as well as the three stores currently in development. We plan to remodel each store to reflect its community and look forward to offering fresh, natural and organic foods to a broader base of Chicago customers."

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