The online retailer announced Friday that it was buying Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, the largest acquisition in Amazon’s history.
And just last week we were bemoaning how hard it was to get another Trader Joe’s in Pierce County.
Friday’s grocery bombshell should come as no surprise.
Whole Foods has been struggling the past few years as more grocers move into the specialty foods market, with Kroger’s Main & Vine in Gig Harbor (the chain’s only store in the United States) the most prominent local example.
And Whole Foods has always grappled with the “Whole Paycheck” moniker given by consumers who believe its prices were too high.
Industry experts expect that to change rapidly.
“Amazon can be expected to work to deliver better value to grocery customers, both online and within the brick-and-mortar space,” Bankrate.com senior economic analyst Mark Hamrick said in a news release just after Friday’s news broke.
The deal is set to close later this year. It gives Amazon more than 400 established brick-and-mortar stores in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.
Whole Foods opened its University Place store in 2015. At that time, people were walking into the store two weeks before it opened, so eager were they to start shopping.
Imagine that store now that Amazon will be involved.
“This is an earthquake rattling through the grocery sector as well as the retail world,” Hamrick said. “We can only imagine the technological innovation that Amazon will bring to the purchasing experience for the consumer.”
Mark Huson, a director in West Monroe Partners’ mergers and acquisitions practice in Seattle, had a similar take.
“Amazon has been a major driver of the Seattle/Tacoma region’s expansion for several years,” he told The News Tribune. “Expanding the range of products available through Amazon Fresh will only lead to more growth for that business (new cities, new customer segments), in turn leading to more growth for our region."
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