Monday, 11 December, 2017

Amazon to lower prices at Whole Foods

Devin Neal | 22 June, 2017, 09:01

By acquiring Whole Foods, Amazon is buying not just an established, upscale supermarket brand, but also a vast distribution network of warehouses and more than 460 stores worldwide - replete with back rooms and cold storage - in some of the most affluent ZIP codes in America. It was actually mutual friends set us up on a blind date.

Amazon expects to reduce headcount and change inventory to lower prices and make Whole Foods competitive with Wal-Mart Stores and other big-box retailers, according to a person with knowledge of the company's grocery plans. "Books are lot more homogenous", she said, noting that a hardcover Harry Potter book is the same at Amazon - though Amazon can sell it at a lower price.

The Whole Foods Market in Midtown New York is seen on June 16, 2017.

Amazon, which agreed to pay $13.7 billion for the organic-food chain on Friday, will let Mackey continue to run Whole Foods. The deal is largely being seen as a way for Amazon to move more into the brick-and-mortar space, which is not new for the company. Mackey said after he and a team of Whole Foods WFM, +1.27% executives met with Amazon AMZN, +0.76% representatives in Seattle about six weeks ago, "It was truly love at first sight". I think we coulda talked for 10 hours.

"I think the most important aspect of the purchase is that it gives Amazon 440 refrigerated distribution centers in the US and probably puts their distribution presence within 10 miles of 80% of the population and within 90% of the wealthy population", he wrote in an email to CNBC.

And grocery may take a middle path, says Kimberly Scott, a portfolio manager at the Ivy Mid Cap Growth Fund, which counts Whole Foods stock as one of its biggest investments. He said they could not "consummate" the marriage until the deal was official, and that it was "not a Tinder relationship".

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Peter Belanger of Newington, Connecticut, who was shopping at a Whole Foods in West Hartford, said he didn't think he'd be interested in groceries online.

He also noted that not all love ends well.

Aaron Turner, a Los Angeles-based analyst who covers Grubhub for Wedbush Securities, wrote in a note to clients Monday that the tech giant's plans to buy Whole Foods for almost $14 billion set it up for a larger food ordering and delivery play.

Whole Foods used to be one of the leaders in organic and natural foods, but other chains have increased the availability of those products.

And there's no shortage of speculation about the ways the company could innovate and leverage Whole Foods locations to further its interests.

Here's more of what he had to say and how the deal came into being, from the US Securities and Exchange Commission transcript of his address.

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