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31 mai 200815:58

Planet Organic divison launches major California expansion
Thursday April 17, 11:13 am ET

EDMONTON, April 17 /CNW/ - Planet Organic Health Corp.'s latest proposed acquisition is more than tripling the footprint of one of its oldest stores as it also prepares to open the doors on a brand new store.

"The demand for organic and wholesome foods in this area is unparalleled," said Scott Roseman, President of New Leaf Community Markets, a four-store chain of organic food stores located in the ocean-side city of Santa Cruz.

Planet Organic Health (POH) is set to close its $9.75 million acquisition of New Leaf later this month.

Santa Cruz is located just south of San Francisco and its residents are keen organic food consumers, Mr. Roseman explained, because of the higher-than-average education and income levels and because the city is near two huge agricultural areas that produce massive amounts of strawberries and salad ingredients.

It's also a bedroom community for the wealthy executives in the nearby Silicone Valley and it boasts a University of California campus of 15,000 students.

For all those reasons, Mr. Roseman said it was an easy decision to expand its oldest store from the current 7 thousand sq. ft. footprint to just over 20 thousand square feet. The expansion should be completed by the beginning of next year.

Meanwhile, a new 22 thousand sq. ft. store currently under construction will open its doors in June. (See Planet's February 25th news release).

"We have the sea and the sun attracting a very health-conscious population and they are driving us on," Mr. Roseman added.

New Leaf generated U.S. revenues of $26.4 million and EBITDA of $1.5 million in fiscal 2007 (unaudited) and is tracking much higher for fiscal 08.

Darren Krissie, POH's Vice President of Corporate Development and CFO, said, "the demand for healthy foods has been growing by double digits every year for the past 20 years across North America and there is no let up in sight."

That's one of the reasons, Mr. Krissie added, why POH has grown sales over the last seven years from $1.6 million to projected revenues of more than $100 million this fiscal year, ending June 30th.

During the last seven years, the number of POH employees has also grown to 650.

About Planet Organic Health Corp.

Planet Organic Health Corp. (TSX-V: POH - News) is a natural products industry company, comprising manufacturing, distribution and retail. Planet Organic is listed on the TSX Venture Exchange as a Tier One company. Planet Organic operates nine natural food supermarkets throughout Canada under the Planet Organic Market banner and eleven natural food supermarkets in the U.S. under the Mrs. Green's Natural Markets banner. The Company also operates 48 natural health outlets under the Sangster's Health Centre banner and eight natural health outlets under the Healthy's and Planet Organic Living banners. Another Planet Organic company, Trophic Canada, is the country's leading manufacturer of natural supplements. The Company has a total of 65 stores throughout Canada and eleven in the U.S. and has more than 650 employees.

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