Trader Joe's gets FTC approval for Portland store

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PORTLAND — A Federal Trade Commission spokesman Friday said the agency has approved Trader Joe’s request to purchase the former Wild Oats space on Marginal Way.

The deal transfers the property from Whole Foods Market to Trader Joe’s. Whole Foods acquired the Wild Oats grocery chain in 2007 and closed the Portland store in 2008. The FTC ordered Whole Foods to divest several Wild Oats properties, including 87 Marginal Way, to help restore grocery store competition.

The request for FTC approval was made in March, and initiated a month-long period for the agency to accept public comment. The public-comment period closed April 9.

The FTC spokesman, Mitch Katz, last month said the Trader Joe’s proposal generated 521 comments from the public. He said the typical divestiture procedure generates one or two responses.

Trader Joe’s is a popular grocery store known for affordable prices and private-label products. In May 2009 it was named the second best supermarket chain in the nation by Consumer Reports.

Trader Joe’s applied to the city for a business license on May 10. The Portland store will be the chain’s first in Maine.

Kate Bucklin can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 106 or