Atlanta (May 4, 2011). Whole Foods Market (NASDAQ: WFMI) plans to open a new store in Wilmington, North Carolina in spring 2012.

The newest store for the natural and organic foods supermarket will occupy approximately 30,000 square feet of retail space in the former Lowe’s grocery at Oleander Drive near Independence Mall. Construction to the existing space begins this summer.

Whole Foods Market's presence in North Carolina already includes stores in Asheville, Cary, Chapel Hill, Durham, North Raleigh, Raleigh and Winston-Salem, with plans for additional stores opening in Charlotte and Greensboro in 2012.

“Wilmington is a terrific location for the South region’s growing map of stores,” said Scott Allshouse, regional president for Whole Foods Market. “The Wilmington community is ready for a new grocery option and a new place to celebrate good food and healthy eating.  We are excited to bring another store to North Carolina, and we’re happy to be coming to the coast.”

“We are looking forward to commencing the redevelopment of Oleander Point, in Wilmington, North Carolina,” stated Tom McGowan, President and Chief Operating Officer, Kite Realty Group.  “We are excited to have Whole Foods as our anchor for this project.  We’ve worked with Whole Foods Market on other Kite properties and are confident they will be a great addition to the community and to the success of Oleander Point.”

Whole Foods Market features a fresh and enticing selection of natural foods in their purest state, free of artificial flavors, colors, sweeteners, and preservatives as well as hydrogenated fats.  Whole Foods Market offers shoppers the highest quality, best-tasting and freshest foods in an inviting setting. Each store is unique and is designed to meet the needs of the neighborhoods where we live and work. Combine the great-tasting food with outstanding customer service and the result is a pleasantly atypical grocery shopping experience.