Amazon eyes big serving of United States grocery pie


NPR's Alina Selyukh reports.

"In some ways, it's more of the same than different, at least from the perspective of where we sit as a regional grocery store that has long grown and thrived side-by-side with Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods", Hardy said Friday.

CHRISTY DAVIS: Nice atmosphere when you're shopping. The deal is expected to close by the end of the year. Last year, Evercore poached Goldman's head of activism defense Bill Anderson, who for more than 12 years had advised more than 175 companies on how to tackle activist investors and hostile bids. "They're greedy bastards, and they're putting a bunch of propaganda out there, trying to destroy my reputation and the reputation of Whole Foods, because it's in their self-interest to do so". Mackey will stay on as CEO under Amazon. Increasingly, we'll be doing everything from home. But that's their real objective here so they can make a short-term profit.

SELYUKH: And then along came Amazon. The company has built other physical retail locations for books.

Online delivery of groceries so far has been tough for any company to pull off because of customers' concerns about the quality of meat and produce, Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter said. State Street and Fidelity both have a substantial amount of shares in Whole Foods, as BBJ reported.

TARRANT: As an industry, I mean they're 10 years behind at least.

With Whole Foods, Amazon gets an established business that it can transform through its technology and supply network expertise.

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One of those bankers, David Eisman, moved from San Francisco to Seattle to help lead a small team tasked with strengthening ties with the city's biggest companies, including Amazon, Microsoft Corp and Starbucks Corp.

Amazon has agreed to pay $42 per share in cash for Whole Foods, a 27 percent premium on the Austin, Texas-based grocer's closing share price on Thursday.

The company, which had sales of almost $136 billion in 2016, accounted for 43 percent of online retail sales in the United States previous year, according to Slice Intelligence, a San Mateo firm that analyzes e-commerce trends.

At least for the time being, Whole Foods' retail stores will continue to operate under the same brand name, there won't be any immediately noticeable differences for shoppers, and there are no plans to lay off Whole Foods workers, either.

"I wish I could, but I don't know how to use the internet", she said.

Whole Foods had fiscal 2016 sales of about $16 billion. Certainly, it would appear to Cantillon that Bezos sees the future as slightly more nuanced than the vista of couch-bound online shoppers ordering everything from fast food to films online. He says he's excited to try out whatever they offer. Customers are assigned a personal shopper who scours the aisles, purchases and delivers items from retailers like Whole Foods.