Amazon-Whole Foods deal sends Ocado shares skyrocketing

Amazon — headed by Jeff Bezos — ‘has the ability to put the fear of God in any competitor

The Amazon-Whole Foods combination, expected to close by the end of the year, could put even more pressure on those chains and other big grocery sellers.

Walmart's shares were beaten down by the Amazon offer.

Whole Foods, often derided as "Whole Paycheck" for its high prices, could see its reputation change if Amazon, a master at undercutting its brick-and-mortar rivals, passes any savings from automation to customers.

The group, which once held first-mover advantage in the home delivery of groceries in the United Kingdom, has suffered a number of setbacks over the past year as Amazon, which entered the British market through a tie-up with Morrisons, the U.K.'s No. 4 grocery store by market share, applied pressure with two-hour delivery in certain areas.

"For Amazon, Whole Foods fulfills, at a stroke, its ambition to be a serious player in the grocery market". Gartner retail analyst Robert Hetu said Amazon could bring pieces of that to Whole Foods to further cut costs.

Then it went into cloud computing and with Amazon AWS and the crowdsourcing Amazon Mechanical Turk, gained control over a large segment of internet infrastructure. The company has patented a smartphone technology that prevents consumers from online comparison shopping within the walls of a store.

The first Amazon Fresh Pickup location in Seattle, WA. That's because they're probably a member of Amazon Prime, which includes unlimited two-day shipping on over 50 million items. Because of its huge store network, there might be antitrust considerations.

It is that threat of automation that has some consumers, and many workers, worried.

Critics who worry that Amazon has monopolized online commerce will find more to gripe about in its $14 billion bid to buy Whole Foods.

Chief Executive Officer Doug McMillon said earlier this month that Wal-Mart saw the competition from the discounters coming early on and has taken measures to sharpen service and prepare.

A combined Whole Foods-Amazon will face some formidable emerging competitors.

Bloomberg's source reportedly said that Amazon is looking at introducing the same technology in its Amazon Go stores to Whole Foods stores.

Not anymore. In one fell swoop, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos charged into the supermarket business with the $13.7 billion acquisition of Whole Foods. The chain's leadership will stay on and the company will continue to operate out of Austin while keeping its current name and branding.

Walmart has the financial wherewithal to buy Whole Foods. To some, the company represents all that is to be feared about automation backed by hundreds of billions in revenues.

Amazon would also look to change Whole Foods' inventory, introducing its own private-label products to replace items deemed too expensive to have mass appeal, the person with knowledge of the matter said.

The food retail sector underwent an earthquake-sized shock on 16 June, when Amazon announced it was buying Whole Foods Market, which makes it its biggest acquisition yet on the grocery market, and the largest in its retail history. "Regulators should block this acquisition".

Long ago, Amazon began a fight with literature.

The exact number of roles on the line is not specified but it could run into the thousands given Whole Foods employs around 90,000 people in total, with many of those working on the shop floor.

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 USA stores just this week.

Last week saw two days that could alter the shape of the USA retail sector for many years to come. Whether consumers will benefit economically and socially is an open question that will not be answered for several years.



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