Whole Foods Market has appealed a judge’s recent ruling ordering the company to reopen its 365 Whole Foods store at Bellevue Square Mall after it suddenly closed in October.
Filed on Monday, defendant Whole Foods Market Place notified King County Superior Court they’ll be seeking review by Division 1 of the Court of Appeals against plaintiff Bellevue Square, LLC’s preliminary injunction, which was granted by King County Superior Court Judge Mary E. Roberts on Dec. 7.
In the injunction, Roberts states Whole Foods committed a breach of contract when it closed and that it must reopen within 14 days of the order, on Dec. 21.
365 Whole Foods opened in September 2016 in a 34,000-square-foot space in Bellevue Square Mall. The lease with the shopping center was executed July 23, 2015 and stated Whole Foods must be open and operational for at least the first 10 years of the 20-year lease term. Although it allowed permitting assignment or sublease with written approval of Bellevue Square, Whole Foods did not request such action and instead notified customers and the mall of its closure in an email two days before it closed on Oct. 14.
“This is how Bellevue Square learned of the closure,” court documents state.
Whole Foods finally told Bellevue Square of its closure 15 minutes before the start of its “store closing” sale, in which the store “slashed its prices for what it held out to the public as its final days of operation,” the documents continue.
Whole Foods told the public, including some news outlets, that issues with the lease premises caused its decision to close up shop.
However, a Whole Foods representative told the Reporter the decision came after “a careful evaluation of the store’s performance.”
Bellevue Square asserts the closure has negatively impacted the mall’s reputation, lease negotiations with other tenants, its inability to recover percentage rent form Whole Foods and a negative relationship with lenders, among other issues.