March 22 2018

Inside Amazon + Whole Foods: The first day

March 22 2018, 04:02 | Clarence Walton

Whole Foods Market store

Whole Foods Market store

Bloomberg went in-depth at a mid-town Manhattan Whole Foods to document some of the discounted prices found this morning.

In its LA store, Whole Foods announced the reductions on its Haps avocados, from $2.99 each to $1.99.

Ralphs was selling conventional avocados for $1.99, versus $1.49 at Whole Foods.

They also cut meat and fish prices.

Boneless rib-eye steak and NY strip steak each went from $18.99/ $13.99/lb. For nondairy drinkers, almond milk's price dropped from $3.99 per half gallon to $2.99 per half gallon. Those who watch the industry expect Amazon to push further into grocery deliveries, among other things. When CNBC visited a Whole Foods store in New York City on Monday, a staff member said more than 300 products were being discounted.

I am not going to judge Amazon's ownership of Whole Foods Market after my first trip.

And this truth is one of the primary reasons it can't attract shoppers who want convenience.

The only non-Whole Foods brand product now discounted is Cheerios.

He declined to comment on the record, but based on GeekWire's conversation with the 64-year-old whose appearance (khaki shorts and trail shoes on Tuesday) doesn't fit the typical CEO mold, it certainly seems like the man once referred to as the "Bill Gates of organic foods" is happy about the transition and his company's new owner. Target and Walmart were less impacted as their "big box" status means they depend less on grocery sales for revenue. In that case, if you're shopping here, you'll find it hard to complete your list of things to buy. Sprouts was the most severely impacted, with the organic-focused supermarket falling roughly seven percent. Companies have been competing with Amazon and Whole Foods independently until now, but never as a combined solution.

While critics decry Amazon for squeezing smaller retailers across the country, potentially destroying jobs, its growth has also added jobs to the USA economy.

Shoppers were greeted with overhead signs in the produce department. However, they won't prioritize organics.

"About the same percent of people (36.2%) are buying discretionary items (i.e., clothes, electronics, music, movies, etc.) from Amazon than they had in the past vs. those that are not (34.7%)", Grom wrote.

Due to Amazon's reputation and ability to deliver on its promises, other grocers are watching closely as Whole Foods transitions to the new model, according to Rick Scardino, principal of Lee & Associates' Chicago office.

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