Wednesday, 13 December, 2017

Whole Foods customers react to $13.7 billion Amazon merger

Jeannie Matthews | 20 June, 2017, 01:18

Target tumbled by 10 percent and Walmart was down by 6 percent.

Online delivery of groceries so far has been tough for any company to pull off because of customers' concerns about the quality of meat and produce, Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter said. Many of them, including local Walmart locations in Springfield, offer curbside pickup, and other stores offer delivery services.

But despite the Whole Foods acquisition and, by extension, the potential technology Amazon could implement in brick-and-mortar outlets, the company said it now has no plans to automate the jobs of cashiers in Whole Foods stores after the acquisition.

Its AmazonFresh delivery service, which has been slow to take off, accounting for 0.8% of all grocery purchases previous year. He added that these are likely the higher-income households who tend to buy more expensive brands and cuts of meat.

In the USA "this adds 440 refrigerated warehouses within 10 miles of probably 80% of the population", said Michael Pachter, an analyst for Wedbush Securities.

And because customers can buy foods and bulk items like toilet paper from a single retailer, discount retailers such as Costco, Target and Walmart should feel threatened, too.

Chinese insurer reportedly detained amid financial probe
This comes just a week after Anbang denied a report from the Financial Times that Wu had been barred from leaving China. Anbang is also rumoured to have a host of politically connected investors, but its ownership structure remains opaque.

SELYUKH: Rich Tarrant is the CEO of MyWebGrocer, a company that helps grocery stores sell products online.

Still, Hurley doesn't see Amazon buying the chain in order to close stores. Earlier this week rumors were swelling that Amazon had its sights on acquiring messaging technology company Slack, turns out it was Whole Foods that would be first. It also had announced a board shake-up and cost-cutting plan amid pressure from activist investor Jana Partners.

But Instacart is also a competitor to Amazon's growing grocery delivery service, AmazonFresh.

"I think that this takes all of the pressure off Whole Foods and gives Whole Foods the opportunity to revitalize that business and of course it stems the criticism from all of these activist investors", said Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail in NY. The Whole Foods purchase would let it expand to many more. Shoppers simply pick the items they want off the shelves and leave the store. He's got professional respect for Amazon for how efficiently and successfully it runs its business.

Amazon says in a statement that it has "no plans to use the technology developed for Amazon Go to automate the jobs of cashiers at Whole Foods".

"This might be an opportunity for consumers who have felt that Whole Foods is inaccessible", said Lauren Beitelspacher, a marketing professor at Babson College in MA. And the key measure that retailers look at to gauge their health, revenue at stores open more than a year, has fallen for seven quarters in a row.


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