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Leonard Green & Partners Files Schedule 13D Disclosing Distribution of Whole Foods Market Common Shares

AUSTIN, Texas, Nov. 20, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Whole Foods Market, Inc. (Nasdaq: WFM) today announced that Leonard Green & Partners, L.P. has filed a Schedule 13D announcing the distribution of approximately 11 million Whole Foods Market common shares to its limited partners and members. The 11 million shares represent approximately 6% of Whole Foods Market's 185.5 million outstanding common shares.

"Whole Foods Market has been one of the best investments in our firm's history," said Jonathan D. Sokoloff, Managing Partner at Leonard Green & Partners, L.P. "We have decided to distribute these shares so that each of our investors can make their own independent decision regarding their level of participation as a shareholder in Whole Foods' future growth. We have tremendous respect for the leadership team and look forward to continuing to serve on the Board of Directors."

About Whole Foods Market

Founded in 1980 in Austin, Texas, Whole Foods Market (www.wholefoodsmarket.com) is the leading retailer of natural and organic foods and America's first national "Certified Organic" grocer. In fiscal year 2012, the Company had sales of approximately $12 billion and currently has 343 stores in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Whole Foods Market employs over 70,000 Team Members and has been ranked for 15 consecutive years as one of the "100 Best Companies to Work For" in America by Fortune magazine.

The Whole Foods Market, Inc. logo is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=6063

Forward-looking statements

The following constitutes a "Safe Harbor" statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.  Except for the historical information contained herein, the matters discussed in this press release are forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties, which could cause our actual results to differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements.  These risks include general business conditions, changes in overall economic conditions that impact consumer spending, including fuel prices and housing market trends, the impact of competition and other risks detailed from time to time in the SEC reports of Whole Foods Market, including Whole Foods Market's report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended September 25, 2011.  Whole Foods Market undertakes no obligation to update forward-looking statements. 

CONTACT: Cindy McCann VP of Investor Relations 512.542.0204

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