Thursday, August 31, 2017
Photo: Whole Foods Market’s Mississauga, Ont. store
On Monday, August 28, 2017 – the very day that Amazon.com completed its $13.9-billion acquisition of Whole Foods Market – the online company slashed prices on a number of goods at Whole Foods stores in both Canada and the United States.
Amazon cut prices on organic grocery staples such as bananas, avocados, brown eggs, farmed salmon and tilapia, baby kale and lettuce, some apples, butter and other products.
Amazon also said it will start selling Whole Foods brand products on its website, a move that sent down shares of packaged food sellers including Kellogg Co. The S&P 500 Food Retail index closed down almost 5 per cent as more than $10 billion was wiped off the market value of big food sellers.
Amazon said members of its $99-per-year Prime shopping club would eventually be rolled into Whole Foods’ customer rewards program and be eligible for special offers and discounts.
Lowering prices could stem defections by price-sensitive Whole Foods shoppers, and help the grocer shed its “Whole Paycheck” reputation for high prices that are generally 15 to 25 per cent above rivals, Global News reports. It could also bring in new consumers who can then be urged to shop for food and other products online.
“It’s ultimately a nice land grab,” said Bill Bishop of retail consultancy Brick Meets Click, and a way to get customers “thinking about buying healthy food from Amazon.”