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Whole Foods flagship to offer wine and beer

NEW YORK — Whole Foods is becoming the latest retailer to offer in-store bars, according to published reports.

USA Today reported that the chain opened a bar selling local wine and craft beer at its flagship store in Austin, Texas, as well as stores in California, Arizona, Illinois and other states, with plans to open at least seven more bars by 2012. The article quoted CEO Walter Robb as saying it was a response to customers coming out of the recession and wanting affordable luxuries.

The store sells beer and wine by the glass for $4 to $10 and growlers of beer for $6.99, the article reported. The service is similar to one recently rolled out by retail pharmacy chain Duane Reade at two of its stores in New York, and the article reported that Starbucks was conducting a similar pilot program at some of its stores in Seattle.

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