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Can Amazon persuade enough people to buy fresh food online?

19 Junio 2017, 01:57 | Crisanna Felipe

The scene on Thursday during the first round of the U.S. Open at Erin Hills. Getty Images

The scene on Thursday during the first round of the U.S. Open at Erin Hills

The surprise deal shakes up the $800 billion grocery sector - and the broader retail industry itself - by marrying Amazon's vast scale and digital prowess with Whole Foods Market Inc.'s 460 stores and fresh-food distribution network.

The merger announcement suggested that Whole Foods would maintain its current operations as before, saying the chain "will continue to operate stores under the Whole Foods Market brand and source from trusted vendors and partners around the world".

In April, Whole Foods hired former Office Depotexecutive Heather Stern to serve as its new general counsel and global vice president of legal affairs.

This deal largely ensures brick-and-mortar stores will not disappear anytime soon. Grocery chains plunged on Friday - Wal-Mart Stores Inc. fell as much as 7.1 percent, while Kroger Co. tumbled 17 percent - as investors anxious that woes will mount in the increasingly cutthroat industry. And this might have entered into Amazon's bid for Whole Foods.

Metcash is in fact due to report its annual results for the year to April 30 a week today and the Amazon news will see investors wonder about its future next year as Amazon arrives with a major grocery offer to be made available. It jumped 27 percent to $41.98 as of 11 a.m.in NY, bringing it close to the transaction price.

I've always wondered how Grocery Drones would work, and now with Amazon's purchase of Whole Foods, we're one step closer to finding out. "It's a warning shot for the food retail industry that competition likely heightens on top of an already challenging backdrop". Gartner retail analyst Robert Hetu said Amazon could bring pieces of that to Whole Foods to further cut costs.

The massive $13.7 billion Amazon-Whole Foods merger may also invite government oversight regarding antitrust concerns, a dynamic complicated by potential conflicts of interest from officials tied to the merger. While its string of e-commerce acquisitions headlined by Jet.com certainly helped, management says the majority of growth came from Walmart.com. Near its headquarters it's also testing its Amazon Go store, that sells prepackaged meals and functions without cashiers, sensing which items customers pluck from the shelves and then charging their online accounts. They have included well known names across many sectors: Gymboree, Sports Authority and Payless Shoes have all filed for bankruptcy within the past year. "So theoretically you could get 5-minute delivery".

"Amazon could bring technology to all Whole Foods locations, or it could absorb Whole Foods into AmazonFresh".

Amazon, which reported $12.5 billion in cash and equivalents and a free cash flow of $10.2 billion in the year ended March 31, has plenty to spend.

Jana, which disclosed an 8.3 percent stake in Whole Foods in April and is the company's second biggest shareholder, stands to make roughly $300 million from the sale to Amazon.

Texas-based Whole Foods, which has nine United Kingdom stores mainly in London, will continue to operate under its own brand.

The multibillionaire, whose company announced it would buy Whole Foods on Friday, wrote: This tweet is a request for ideas. Store closing announcements are piling up at a record pace.

Groceries are already a fiercely competitive business, with low-priced rivals like Aldi putting pressure on traditional supermarket chains and another discounter, Lidl, opening its first US stores just this week.

In an interview with Texas Monthly that ran earlier this week, Mackey chafed at Jana's campaign.

Whole Foods, while notably expensive, faced a paradoxical problem of its own popularity, which was easily imitated.

According to Madeline Hurley, IBISWorld senior analyst, this acquisition means Amazon will be able to reach more consumers than ever before. "That's my baby. I'm going to protect my kid, and they've got to knock Daddy out if they want to take it over".



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