Whole Foods announced earlier this month that it was seeking to raise $1 billion in a debt offering. The company said it intends to use the proceeds for general corporate purposes, including an authorization to repurchase up to $1 billion in its stock.
Standard and Poor's (S&P) assigned a "BBB" rating to the offering, the agency's lowest rung of investment-grade credit, and it assigned a negative outlook on Whole Foods' corporate credit rating. S&P cited challenges related to increased competition and pricing in the organic space. The agency added that Whole Foods could be downgraded if its pricing investments fail to boost sales.