Amazon and Whole Foods footprints are remarkably similar — Geographic analysis

Whole Foods has made some overtures to lower prices over the years, such as launching a handful of smaller stores stocked with mostly store brands under the "365 by Whole Foods Market" banner.

"It was actually mutual friends set us up on a blind date", Mackey said, according to a transcript of the meeting released Monday.

Going full throttle into groceries by announcing a $13.7 billion deal for Whole Foods on Friday, Amazon gets the advantage of using the stores as mini-distribution hubs to deliver items to customers.

Kantor noted that Amazon's market cap gain roughly equaled the amount the company is paying for Whole Foods. Retailers planning to compete for customers with Amazon and Whole Foods need to offer customers their own line-free shopping experience.

Any buyer of Whole Foods would likely argue that it was not in the same market, said Alden Abbott, an antitrust expert with the Heritage Foundation. Still, much is unknown about how the Amazon takeover will impact Whole Foods, the grocery industry, and grocery shoppers in general. Her daughter Bethany Capels agrees and says she likes Whole Foods for the organic fruits she can serve her kids. The company had purchased the sites to eliminate a dogged competitor and prevent the businesses from getting acquired by Wal-Mart Stores Inc. "I think we could have talked for 10 hours", Mr. Mackey said at the town hall. At the meetup in Seattle six weeks ago, the executives spoke with Amazon for 2 1/2 hours, Mackey said.

Amazon has "had the resist the drumbeat of short-term, quarterly earnings that have had us trapped here for a couple of years, as our same-store sales came down", he said.

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Lately, Whole Foods has been battling its worst sales slump since its IPO in 1997, resulting in pressure this spring from activist hedge fund Jana Partners, which Whole Foods CEO John Mackey accused last week of being "greedy bastards". He said they could not "consummate" the marriage until the deal was official, and that it was "not a Tinder relationship". In December, the tech giant unveiled plans for futuristic grocery stores that don't staff cashiers.

Mackey also said that he had a dream that Whole Foods would merge with Amazon about 18 months ago, presaging the industry-rattling deal. In fact, the footprints of Amazon and Whole Foods are strikingly similar in many respects.

Amazon is known for taking the long view.

While Mackey insisted Whole Foods would keep commitment it high-quality, natural and organic foods, he also said that there could be spinoff retailers and brands that wouldn't necessarily play by the same rules.

A source familiar with the matter say Amazon may roll out some (possibly extreme) cost-cutting measures to lower prices across the board at Whole Foods.

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