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Whole Foods Wants to Raise $1B in Debt to Buy Back Struggling Stock

Whole Foods Markets is trying to raise $1B in a debt offering—twice the amount it initially sought. The Austin-based grocery retailer said it intends to use the additional proceeds for general corporate purposes, including a possible $1B stock repurchase.

Citing challenges related to increased competition in the natural and organic space—Whole Foods has lost around $7B in market value since JanuaryStandard & Poor’s assigned the lower rung BBB issue-level rating Monday, while also assigning a negative outlook on Whole Food’s corporate credit outlook, reports Supermarket News.

The S&P said that while Whole Foods leads the "natural sub segment of the highly fragmented food retail industry," its overall share of the food retail industry is still "relatively small and under pressure."

Adding that "could be downgraded if pricing investments fail to boost sales," Whole Foods also acknowledged it expects to be more price-competitive as it faces more competition. [SMN]