Amazon Prime members can expect steeper savings later when the Seattle-based retailer’s discount club becomes Whole Foods’ new customer rewards program.
It is the culmination of a monumental merger, which will change Austin’s business landscape and is already sending shockwaves through the grocery sector.
Kroger Co.’s stock dropped more than 8 percent on the news to about $21 per share while Costco’s stock price fell nearly 5 percent to $152.27 per share.
The mission of the combined Amazon-Whole Foods is to make “high-quality, natural and organic food affordable for everyone,” according to the announcement.
Amazon Worldwide Consumer CEO Jeff Wilke played a key role negotiating the acquisition.
“We’re determined to make healthy and organic food affordable for everyone. Everybody should be able to eat Whole Foods Market quality – we will lower prices without compromising Whole Foods Market’s long-held commitment to the highest standards,” Wilke said said in the announcement. “To get started, we’re going to lower prices beginning Monday on a selection of best-selling grocery staples, including Whole Trade organic bananas, responsibly-farmed salmon, organic large brown eggs, animal-welfare-rated 85 percent lean ground beef, and more.”
The merger will lead to further changes in stores and online. Amazon Lockers will go into select Whole Foods locations so customers can pick up and send back online orders from Amazon.
Customers will be able to order Whole Foods’ private label brands online through AmazonFresh, Prime Pantry and Prime Now.
And in the future, the combined company will “continue to expand our efforts to support and promote local products and suppliers,” the announcement said.
John Mackey will remain CEO of Whole Foods, which will keep its headquarters in Austin.
“By working together with Amazon and integrating in several key areas, we can lower prices and double down on that mission and reach more people with Whole Foods Market’s high-quality, natural and organic food,” Mackey, who co-founded Whole Foods in 1978, said in the announcement. “As part of our commitment to quality, we’ll continue to expand our efforts to support and promote local products and suppliers.”
Amazon will take over 465 Whole Foods stores across North America and the U.K.