Home » UPDATED: Amazon/Whole Foods Merger Will Close Monday; Industry Leaders Respond

UPDATED: Amazon/Whole Foods Merger Will Close Monday; Industry Leaders Respond

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Last updated on August 28th, 2017 at 08:19 am

Updated 8/25/17 11:36 a.m.

Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods Market will close on Monday August 28, 2017, and the two companies will “together pursue the vision of making Whole Foods Market’s high-quality, natural and organic food affordable for everyone.” Whole Foods Market will offer lower prices starting Monday on a selection of best-selling grocery staples across its stores, with more to come.

In addition, Amazon and Whole Foods Market technology teams will begin to integrate Amazon Prime into the Whole Foods Market point-of-sale system, and when this work is complete, Prime members will receive special savings and in-store benefits. The two companies will “invent in additional areas over time,” including in merchandising and logistics, to enable lower prices for Whole Foods Market customers.

“We’re determined to make healthy and organic food affordable for everyone. Everybody should be able to eat Whole Foods Market quality—we will lower prices without compromising Whole Foods Market’s long-held commitment to the highest standards,” said Jeff Wilke, CEO of Amazon Worldwide Consumer. “To get started, we’re going to lower prices beginning Monday on a selection of best-selling grocery staples, including Whole Trade organic bananas, responsibly-farmed salmon, organic large brown eggs, animal-welfare-rated 85% lean ground beef, and more. And this is just the beginning—we will make Amazon Prime the customer rewards program at Whole Foods Market and continuously lower prices as we invent together. There is significant work and opportunity ahead, and we’re thrilled to get started.”

“It’s been our mission for 39 years at Whole Foods Market to bring the highest quality food to our customers,” said John Mackey, Whole Foods Market co-founder and CEO. “By working together with Amazon and integrating in several key areas, we can lower prices and double down on that mission and reach more people with Whole Foods Market’s high-quality, natural and organic food. As part of our commitment to quality, we’ll continue to expand our efforts to support and promote local products and suppliers. We can’t wait to start showing customers what’s possible when Whole Foods Market and Amazon innovate together.”

Here’s what will be new in Whole Foods Market stores on Monday and what customers can expect over time as the two companies integrate:

  • Starting Monday, Whole Foods Market will offer lower prices on a selection of best-selling staples across its stores, with much more to come. Customers will enjoy lower prices on products like Whole Trade bananas, organic avocados, organic large brown eggs, organic responsibly-farmed salmon and tilapia, organic baby kale and baby lettuce, animal-welfare-rated 85% lean ground beef, creamy and crunchy almond butter, organic Gala and Fuji apples, organic rotisserie chicken, 365 Everyday Value organic butter, and much more.
  • In the future, after certain technical integration work is complete, Amazon Prime will become Whole Foods Market’s customer rewards program, providing Prime members with special savings and other in-store benefits.
  • Whole Foods Market’s healthy and high-quality private label products—including 365 Everyday Value, Whole Foods Market, Whole Paws and Whole Catch—will be available through Amazon.com, AmazonFresh, Prime Pantry and Prime Now.
  • Amazon Lockers will be available in select Whole Foods Market stores. Customers can have products shipped from Amazon.com to their local Whole Foods Market store for pick up or send returns back to Amazon during a trip to the store.

Amazon and Whole Foods Market plan to offer more in-store benefits and lower prices for customers over time as the two companies integrate logistics and point-of-sale and merchandising systems.

Whole Foods Market will continue to grow its team and create jobs in local communities as it opens new stores, hires new team members, and expands its support of local farmers and artisans, say the companies. They add that Whole Foods will maintain operations under the Whole Foods Market brand, preserve its high standards and commitment to providing the finest natural and organic foods, and continue to source from trusted vendors and partners around the world. John Mackey will remain as CEO, and Whole Foods Market’s headquarters will stay in Austin, Texas.

Industry leaders’ takes

“When Amazon announced plans to acquire Whole Foods in June, we suspected that Amazon intended to use Whole Foods as omni-channel in-store pickup points. The announcement about Amazon Locker deployments means their reach has jumped by 460 locations. Like the Instant Pickup announcement, Amazon is taking omni-channel seriously, and they are moving fast. In the U.S., OrderDynamics has found that only 29.1% of retailers have in-store pickup capabilities and most are missing the mark. With Amazon adding 460 in-store pickup locations, retailers need to get in the game and put in place their own click and collect services, or get knocked over by the oncoming train. Amazon has long been the benchmark for consumer expectations online, and it has started the engine in the omni-channel space, too.” – Nick McLean, CEO, OrderDynamics

“Much like the recent, and rare, total solar eclipse, so too have been the strategic moves made by Amazon this year with its acquisition of Whole Foods. Thanks to Amazon, never before has the retail industry—especially grocery—seen its comfortable boundaries pushed so far beyond the traditional. This is not the last we will see or hear of Amazon changing the rules of retail. Harry Gordon Selfridge, American retail magnate and founder of Selfridges department store once said, ‘Excite the mind, and the hand will reach for the pocket.’ Amazon has not once skipped a step in exciting the mind of its loyal Prime customers. Now with Whole Foods store fronts officially in its corner, Amazon’s depth of knowledge on consumer buying behavior is poised to further outshine the market, at least for now.” – Paul Millner, marketing director, DisplayData

“Amazon has wasted no time integrating Whole Foods into its operation, and starting Monday the grocery landscape changes radically, as Amazon gains 460 stores and Whole Foods gains access to 85 million Amazon Prime members. It’s a dream scenario for Prime customers, a nightmare for other grocery retailers. Amazon’s timing with this announcement is pitch-perfect, as it overshadows Wednesday’s Walmart-Google announcement.” – Jeff Ketner, president, Ketner Group PR + Marketing

From the FTC (8/24/17):

Bruce Hoffman, the Acting Director of the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Competition, has issued this statement on the Commission’s decision not to further pursue an investigation of Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods Market:

“The FTC conducted an investigation of this proposed acquisition to determine whether it substantially lessened competition under Section 7 of the Clayton Act, or constituted an unfair method of competition under Section 5 of the FTC Act. Based on our investigation we have decided not to pursue this matter further. Of course, the FTC always has the ability to investigate anticompetitive conduct should such action be warranted.”

This news comes on the heels of Whole Foods’ shareholders approving the deal as well.

More on Amazon/Whole Foods: 

Amazon To Acquire Whole Foods Market For $13.7B

Amazon, Whole Foods And Grocers—Why Local Search Is More Important Than Ever

Note To Brick-And-Mortar Grocers: Amazon Truly Believes In You—Now Act Fast

How Shoppers View The Amazon-Whole Foods Deal

Harry Blazer: Reflections On The Proposed Whole Foods Purchase By Amazon

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