ARE WHOLE FOODS and Wild Oats in a class by themselves? That's what the Federal Trade Commission argued this year — unsuccessfully, it would eventually turn out — as the two chains sought to merge. “If Whole Foods is allowed to devour Wild Oats, it will mean higher prices, reduced quality and fewer choices for consumers,” the FTC said in June after considering the antitrust implications of the deal. The two chains are “premium natural and organic” stores that can be defined as a separate ...

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