EMERYVILLE, Calif. (January 14, 2004) Whole Foods Market® (NASDAQ: WFMI), the world's largest natural and organic supermarket, today released details of its new 30,000-square-foot store at Fourth and Harrison Streets in San Francisco's South of Market (SoMa) district; the store will open on January 14, 2004.

“SoMa's population has increased faster than any other area in the City, and residents need a local neighborhood grocer to serve the growing community,” said Ron Megahan, president of Whole Foods Market's Northern Pacific region. “This new store fills a demand evidenced by the overwhelmingly positive reception we've received at our Franklin Street store and the findings of community planning in SoMa. Whole Foods Market is proud to meet residents' desires by providing a much-needed grocery store, supplying jobs to the neighborhood, heeding the call for mixed-use structures and diversifying a neighborhood that has primarily housed industry.”

Scheduled to open January 14, the new store will be the city's second Whole Foods Market and SoMa's first full-service grocery store. It will cater to the distinct flavor of the SoMa district, with a large focus on prepared foods. Shoppers will discover a large bakery offering fresh breads, cakes, cookies, and other freshly baked goods in addition to a wide variety of freshly prepared ready-to-eat foods at a colossal food island. Four different food bars will feature vegan, vegetarian, high-protein, raw, organic and sustainable options. Indoor seating will allow patrons to enjoy the multiple offerings, including: a broad, rotating range of ethnic foods in the Global Cuisine section; healthy box lunches, prepared sandwiches, roasted chickens and rotisserie meats; catered meals; salad and soup bars; and an array of quick lunch options.

Among other special amenities in the single-level space: 11 check-out stands to ensure quick and friendly check-out service; a dedicated Whole Body section, including vitamins, supplements, herbs, cruelty-free cosmetics, and body care products; a dry-aged beef case; a cheese aging cooler; an enhanced bulk foods area; and free parking spaces available for 75 vehicles above the store. In addition, a full-service coffee bar features the store's own handcrafted, sustainably grown coffee, Allegro®.

Whole Foods Market creates a distinctive retail environment to inspire shoppers by catering to their every need. The company's mission of supporting sustainable agriculture and the environment is fulfilled by featuring only natural and organic foods, all free of artificial preservatives, colors, flavors, sweeteners and hydrogenated oils. Whole Foods Market's emphasis on the highest quality and best-tasting fresh produce, chef-prepared foods, baked goods, natural meats and sparkling seafood appeals to a variety of customers ranging from health-conscious households to aspiring gourmets.

“South of Market neighbors have been waiting for a local supermarket for a long time,” said Supervisor Chris Daly for the City and County of San Francisco. “I am grateful that Whole Foods has agreed to serve the people of this community. More than half of the 120 jobs will go to SoMa residents, demonstrating Whole Foods Market's commitment to San Francisco.”

Whole Foods Market is also working with local employment agencies to train and provide job opportunities for the underserved community. Whole Foods Market was voted this year to Fortune's “100 Best Companies to Work For” list for the seventh consecutive year.

Set in an existing, multi-purpose structure built in 2001 to supply services and below-market and at-market housing for the burgeoning population, San Francisco's new Whole Foods Market utilizes as much green building material as possible. In addition to recycled wood used for store signage, laminates throughout the store feature recycled content. The new Whole Foods Market also uses bamboo, which ranks among the most sustainable materials. The store employs wheat stock for fixtures throughout the store and foregoes synthetics in favor of granite and marble countertops. The décor pays homage to the neighborhood's heritage and feel, with “natural urban” colors whose rusts, reds, grays and greens complement industrial details that include metal piping for plant holders and more.

“We are committed to giving our customers and our neighbors the best possible shopping experience,” said Anie Summerland, store team leader in SoMa. “Whole Foods Market is known not only for our exceptional products but also for the personalized one-on-one service from helpful and knowledgeable staff. Whole Foods Market will be a neighborhood fixture where people want to spend time and visit with neighbors. We're excited to be part of this neighborhood where artists, young people, families, and a diverse population create a unique and vibrant social fabric.”

Keeping with Whole Foods Market's tradition of community support, the SoMa store will host an invitation-only gala to benefit the local Salvation Army. Attendees will be asked for an optional $10 donation at the door, with 100 percent of donations benefiting the Salvation Army's headquarters, which is located down the street at 832 Folsom Street.

The official opening of Whole Foods Market will kick off with a bread-breaking ceremony at 8:30 a.m. on January 14. The event will feature Whole Foods Market regional president Ron Megahan, regional chef John Mitchell and the new Whole Foods Market SoMa store team. The store will be open to the public from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. on opening day. Regular hours will be 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. daily.

Throughout opening day, Whole Foods Market will treat customers to an open house celebration with vendors distributing free product samples, a gift basket raffle, and free face painting for kids. In addition, the first 1,000 customers to spend $25 or more will receive a free Whole Foods Market canvas grocery bag.

The SoMa store is located at 399 Fourth Street at Harrison Street in San Francisco. For more information about this location, please call the store at 415-618-0066. For more information about Whole Foods Market, please visit: www.wholefoodsmarket.com or call 512-477-4455.