The sales growth last year for the biggest natural foods retailers, 23.1% for Whole Foods Market and 8.1% for Wild Oats Markets, was a key driver of the
$45.8 billion spent in the category by American consumers, according to
a report by two industry trade publications. This defies expectations that mass-market retailers and the Internet would be
"the death knell for the natural retail market," the research
director of the report says.