AUSTIN, Texas — Whole Foods Market here said Wednesday that identical-store sales were down slightly in the fourth quarter and have continued a downward spiral in the first weeks of its new fiscal year, as economic pressures continued to batter the once high-flying natural foods retailer. In a separate announcement Wednesday, Whole Foods said it had raised $425 million through sale of preferred stock to an affiliate of Leonard Green & Partners. That deal — which would comprise 17% of the ...

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