US natural and organic retailer Whole Foods Market says the bakery department will be the centrepiece of its first UK megastore, which will open in Kensington, London in June.

David Doctorow, vice president, North Atlantic region, said plans for the 75,000sq ft store in Kensington, London, are "progressing fantastically".

The store will have an open-plan bakery ’theatre’ in a central position with bakers working in front of customers during the day and evening.

He told British Baker that he had noticed that "if you go into many stores in the UK in the evening, bread supply is limited".

Whole Foods, which has 188 outlets in the US and Canada, plans to open stores at the rate of two or three a year in the UK, and eventually move into continental Europe, Doctorow said.

He commented: "The UK expansion will be something similar to when we opened in New York. It took us a long time to find the first site, but that was a spectacular success and we quickly opened lots of others. There will be lots of shopping centres that will want Whole Foods as their anchor."

Whole Foods also plans to launch an everyday-value, private-label brand in the UK called Fresh & Wild, he said.

Whole Foods first entered the UK in 2004 when it acquired the seven-shop natural foods retailer Fresh & Wild. See feature, pg 24.