(June 18) Those waiting to hear whether Whole Foods will be able to buy Wild Oats are going to have to wait until at least the first of August.

A temporary restraining order was granted June 7 by the District Court of the District of Columbia, signed by District Judge Paul Friedman, preventing Austin, Texas-based Whole Foods Markets Inc. from “consummating any acquisition of any stock, assets or other interest … in Wild Oats.”

A hearing has been set for July 31 and is scheduled to conclude Aug. 1 for the court to decide whether to issue an injunction blocking the merger.

At the heart of the FTC’s argument is whether Whole Foods and Boulder, Colo.-based Wild Oats Market Inc., are each others’ closest competitor in a “premium natural and organic supermarket” category, using each other for pricing decisions, according to its June 7 filing with the court.

That argument doesn’t fit the consumer profile at either store, said retail analyst David Livingston of DJL Research, Pewaukee, Wis.

“No one shops either store because of competitive pricing,” he said. “Whole Foods is not named ‘Whole Paycheck’ for nothing.”

If the stores were to combine, the FTC said, it would drive up prices and give consumers less choices. Whole Foods and Wild Oats are not competing with other mainstream retailers delving into the organic category, the FTC said.