Amazon to lower prices at Whole Foods

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

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

Mackey added that there would be executive changes at Whole Foods but that he didn't think they would be "forced on us" by Amazon.

In a town meeting held the day the deal was announced, Mackey shed light on how the deal between Whole Foods Market and the world's largest retailer, Amazon, actually went down.

The $13.7 billion deal for Whole Foods could pay off quickly, but it still runs counter to trends in the tech world, in which fixed assets like real estate and heavy equipment are shunned, said Amit Sharma, a former supply chain executive at Wal-Mart and now CEO of Narvar, a retail app.

Spinning off a separate brand and using Amazon's technology and customer data, while leveraging Whole Foods' logistics infrastructure and knowledge of the grocery industry could help keep the grocer's flagship brand pure with its core customers while letting Amazon capitalize on its grocery ambitions.

"I think the most important aspect of the purchase is that it gives Amazon 440 refrigerated distribution centers in the USA and probably puts their distribution presence within 10 miles of 80% of the population and within 90% of the wealthy population", he wrote in an email to CNBC. Many said they had been told by managers not to speak to reporters.

"We're gonna evolve. So I can't say there's not gonna ever be any changes", he said.

Analysts say there's no reason to think Amazon's deal with Whole Foods will be limited to groceries.

"Whole Foods was late in realizing private label's opportunity because they were enjoying the growth of the organic market", said the Citigroup report "There is significant opportunity there for Amazon".

And while New York City's retail players stressed they didn't have a crystal ball into Jeff Bezos' thinking, they said it's probably a little bit of both - Amazon is likely to apply its omnichannel expertise to the grocer while using its enviably-located stores to expand its own brick-and-mortar operations. But based on Mackey's stirring testimony, it would take an very bad lot to make star-crossed lovers out of Amazon and Whole Foods.

In December of 2016, Amazon revealed a high tech grocery concept called Amazon Go, that would offer prepared foods and popular grocery items in a zero-fuss setting.

"Until death do us part", Mackey said.

Leonard noted his chain is known for free samples and costumed farm animals that walk around stores and greet shoppers.

The line, according to the transcript, garnered laughter from employees in the room. But they care about their team - their team members, their suppliers, their investors.

In reality, Amazon informally looked at acquiring Whole Foods a year ago, according to people familiar with the matter.

Whole Foods used to be one of the leaders in organic and natural foods, but other chains have increased the availability of those products.

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