(Jan. 28) The Federal Trade Commission is not giving up easily.

In a brief filed in its appeal of the acquisition of Boulder, Colo.-based Wild Oats Markets Inc. by Austin, Texas-based Whole Foods Market Inc., the FTC asked the court to stop Whole Foods from further Wild Oats closures while the case is pending.

Mitchell Katz, an FTC spokesman, said the agency filed its brief in mid-January. Should the agency be successful in its appeal, it is unclear what would happen because so much already has been done.

By mid-October, more than half of the former Wild Oats stores had been closed or re-branded. Layoffs of the remaining Wild Oats corporate employees who had not left began in November and are continuing through January.

The corporate headquarters was converted to the Whole Foods Rocky Mountain Region headquarters.

“In general we’re trying to reverse the decision to allow the transaction to go through,” Katz said. “I’m not sure what our remedy is — do you make them sell all of the stores, do you make them re-brand the Wild Oats back — what can you do?”

In its brief, the FTC specifically requested that “This court should enter an injunction preventing Whole Foods from closing or re-branding any additional Wild Oats stores, to prevent any further harm to consumers during plenary adjudication.”

According to a court order filed Dec. 11, Whole Foods has until Feb. 13 to file a brief in the appellate case, and the FTC will be given until Feb. 27 to file a reply.

Final briefs must be received by March 12 and the first oral argument on the case is expected on the first available date following that.

Whole Foods representatives declined to comment.