Published: Mon, June 26, 2017
Markets | By Noel Gibbs

Whole Foods Doesn't Have a 'Tinder Relationship' With Amazon, Its CEO Clarifies


Days after Amazon announced a $13.7 billion agreement to acquire Whole Foods Market, the grocer's CEO, John Mackey, suggested it might spin off a new brand of stores that veers from the grocer's traditional operating model and core customers.

In response to a question about how Whole Foods' relationship with various stakeholders would change following the marriage to Amazon, Mackey said the company would evolve to match Amazon's relentless focus on customers.

Arroyo acknowledged that there may be a few pros to buying produce online, but laments that personal service a grocery store can offer will slowly fade as Amazon begins its reign a grocery conquistador. We're gonna - we're gonna - we're gonna import their passion about that.

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.

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The smitten CEO called it a "whirlwind courtship", though he also admitted he had a dream 18 months ago that Amazon and Whole Foods would one day get together. "They're not playin" a bunch of BS games.

In a note to clients, the bank's analysts said: "We could argue that the impact of Amazon will be very long term, that it might not be successful in its venture or that the same strategy will not be exported to the United Kingdom - and we might be right".

Use the map below to compare the concentration of Whole Foods stores (in green shading) with Amazon's distribution and fulfillment network (use the menu drop-down option to change views).

Some workers at the nonunion grocery chain wondered whether Amazon, known for its hard-driving culture, would mean big changes to their pay, benefits or employment.

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Barclays analyst Karen Short raised her Whole Foods price target to $48 from $38 and upgraded the stock to overweight from equal-weight, citing the possibility of counterbids.

Amazon may be seeking to make the high-end grocer more competitive with Walmart and other mass-market retailers, the New York Post reports. And this might have entered into Amazon's bid for Whole Foods. Yardeni notes that Amazon founder and Chief Executive Jeff Bezos has brought deflation to the book industry, mall retailers, and the cloud - giving Federal Reserve Chairman Janet Yellen something to think about, as Investor's Business Daily reported in May.

Mackey went on to ooze his enthusiasm for what Amazon would bring to Whole Foods Market's table, so to speak.

"But over time, as the companies are integrated, there'll be opportunities for many of you, if you are interested in them, probably workin' for- Amazon".

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Second, and most importantly, while Whole Foods locations will give Amazon a bricks and mortar grocery platform, Whole Foods stores won't just be a grocery asset.

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