Sunday, December 7, 2008

Retail Memo: New Seasons Market CEO Brian Rohter and Whole Foods Market Co-President Walter Robb Discuss and Debate the Subpoena Issue Online

Rohter & Robb: The FTC, Whole Foods Market, Inc., 96 natural products' retailers and the subpoenas

Brian Rohter, the CEO of nine-store Portland, Oregon-based New Seasons Market, which is one of the 96 natural products' retailers that received subpoenas from Whole Foods Market, Inc.'s lawyers in relation to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) ongoing challenge of the Whole Foods-Wild Oats merger, and Walter Robb, Whole Foods' co-president and co-chief operating officer, engaged in a bit of written debate this afternoon in the comments section of a story (which both men are quoted in) published yesterday on the Portland Oregonian newspaper Web site, about the Whole Foods- New Seasons Market subpoena issue. Robb and Rohter, who have known each other for many years, talked on the phone about the subpoena last week.

Read the story from yesterday, "New Seasons balks at Whole Foods' subpoena," oublished yesterday on the Oregonian Web site here.

Rohter and Robb's comments made this afternoon

Today at 1: 33pm, [Posted by WalterRobb on 12/07/08 at 1:33PM] Whole Foods' Walter Robb offered his comments on the story and the issue. Robb also provided additional information about the subpoena, including a link to the entire text of the subpoena to New Seasons here:[]

Robb also has a link to what the FTC instructed Whole Foods Market, Inc. to provide the government agency following the Wild Oats merger last year: []

Robb also provides links to other related information in his comment, which we suggest you read if you are interested in the FTC-Whole Foods issue because it is well-written and reasonable. Robb has always been the voice of reason at Whole Foods, so it makes sense to us he is taking the lead on this issue. It's also a good idea.

At 4:34pm today, New Seasons Market CEO Brian Rohter replied to Walter Robb's comments with some of his own [Posted by brohter on 12/07/08 at 4:34PM]. Rohter adds to his argument in the comments post, pointing out some additional concerns and clarifying that it isn't Robb he is worried about but "Whole Foods Market" as a corporate entity.

Brian Rohter's additional points and arguments, which are equally reasoned, also are worth reading if you are interested in this issue.

Click here to view the article and comments. They are linked individually above as well.

Reader Resources

Natural~Specialty Foods Memo's coverage of the issue over the last week:

>December 7, 2008: Retail Memo: New Seasons Market CEO Brian Rohter Speaks Out Again Today on the Whole Foods Market, Inc. Subpoena of His Company's Data

>December 7, 2008: Retail Memo: Whole Foods Market Retains Top Washington D.C. lawyers and Politically-Connected Lobbyists to Plead its Case Against the FTC

>December 6, 2008: Retail Memo: Fast-Growing and Scrappy Sunflower Farmers Market Ventures Deep in the Heart of (Whole Foods Country) Texas

>December 6, 2008: Retail Memo: Fast-Growing NF Chain Sunflower Farmers Market Responds to Whole Foods Market, Inc. Subpoena For Sales, Financial and Related Information

>December 3, 2008: Retail Memo: More on the Whole Foods Market-New Seasons Market Subpoena Issue; FTC Holding Firm For February, 2009 Hearing

>December 2, 2008: Retail Memo: Whole Foods Market, Inc. Closes $425 Sale of Stock to Private Equity Firm; Adds Members of the Firm to its Board of Directors

>December 2, 2008: Retail Memo: Portland, Oregon-Based New Seasons Market CEO Brian Rohter Responds to Whole Foods Market's Paige Brady

>December 2, 2008: Retail Memo: Whole Foods' Paige Brady Responds to Yesterday's New Seasons Market Piece; Lots of E-Mails; Issue Heats Up On the New Seasons Market Blog

>December 1, 2008: Retail Memo: Whole Foods Wants A Court-Mandated Financial Records Dump from Portland-based New Seasons Market; it Says For its Battle Against the FTC

Additionally, we've been writing about the FTC-Whole Foods Market, Inc. issue since last year. You can read a selection of those stories here.

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