Friday, September 21, 2007

The Future of Henry's

With the acquisition of Wild Oats by Whole Foods now a done deal, what, my worried friends ask, is to become of Henry's, which has been a property of Wild Oats? Will our stores morph into Whole Foods?

Well, folks, it turns out that Whole Foods is selling the Henry's Farmers Market chain, as well as Sun Harvest stores in Texas, to Smart & Final. The deal is supposed to close by the end of this month. Smart & Final is held by Apollo Management, a giant private equity firm.

This begs the question, "what does this mean for Henry's shoppers?" Will prices go back down since the expensive Wild Oats will no longer be in the picture? Will we end up with a Smart & Final style of bulk shopping? Anyone who has been to a Smart & Final lately knows it's a great place to buy restaurant-supply-type items, soda, cleaning products and enormous jars of pickles and the like. But it's hard to see how a Smart & Final style of merchandising relates to Henry's.

Stay tuned.

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