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The Wall Street Journal this morning reports that Walmart "is phasing out its Wild Oats organic food brand, according to people familiar with the matter, dropping a line of products introduced two years ago in an effort to bring inexpensive organics to the masses.

"The world’s largest retailer has unwound a complicated deal with private-equity firm Yucaipa Cos. that allowed it to sell Wild Oats pasta sauces, cereals and other shelf-stable products, the people said. The products will disappear from Wal-Mart shelves in coming months, they added."

When Walmart made the deal with Yucaipa - which acquired the Wild Oats brand after the banner was sold to Whole Foods - a couple of years ago, the belief was this would jump start its efforts to expand its organics footprint. Now, the Journal writes, "Wal-Mart is switching tactics, hoping to add organic products to shelves in other ways, including selling more fresh produce and adding more organic food to its existing store brand, Great Value, these people said. Wal-Mart would have to further expand its own network of organic-food suppliers."
KC's View:
Neither side is talking about what made the deal go south ... or if it just simply ran its course. But the sense seems to be that maybe the Wild Oats brand simply did not fit within the Walmart umbrella, and the Bentonville Behemoth thought it could have more of an impact on its own. Which seems entirely credible to me.