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Reuters reports that one of Whole Foods' top 10 shareholders "has met potential activist investors to discuss management changes at and explore a sale of the upscale grocery chain," raising concerns about the company's direction.

The reports have not named the shareholder.

A Whole Foods spokesperson tells CNBC that "As discussed on this week's earnings call, we are focused on pursuing the right strategies to position the company to produce strong results and returns for our shareholders over the long term."

Last week, Whole Foods announced that its Q4 revenue was $3.5 billion, compared to $3.4 billion during the same period a year ago, on same-store sales that were down 2.6 percent, the fifth straight quarter in which Whole Foods saw same-store sales drop. Profit, however, for the quarter was up - to $88 million from $56 million a year earlier. And, as it made those announcements, the company said that co-CEO Walter Robb will step down from the job at the end of year, leaving founder John Mackey as the sole CEO of the retailer.

Whole Foods said that while it will roll out a nationwide loyalty program, and is committed to its new "365" store format, it is "not participating in a race to the bottom,” but rather is focused on providing better customer service and promoting its “higher-quality products.”
KC's View:
I think that Mackey is going to be under a lot of pressure to deliver some significant short-term improvement in the company's numbers. And I continue to believe that it remains to be seen whether they kept the right CEO; Mackey may have the vision, but Robb was the operations guy.