Big news in the retail market Friday morning, with online giant Amazon announcing it’s acquiring Whole Foods in a deal with $13.7 billion.
The upmarket, organic-led grocery chain will merge with Amazon, giving the online retailer access to Whole Foods’ 450-plus physical locations across the U.S., Canada and the United Kingdom.
In a statement on Friday, Amazon said Whole Foods will continue to operate stores under its Whole Foods Market brand, with John Mackey remaining as CEO.
In the wake of the news, the share prices of major grocery chains – including Target – plummeted.
Target down 9%
WalMart down 5%
Costco down 6%
Sprouts down 11%
Kroger down 13%
— Carl Quintanilla (@carlquintanilla) June 16, 2017
“Millions of people love Whole Foods Market because they offer the best natural and organic foods, and they make it fun to eat healthy,” said Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO. “Whole Foods Market has been satisfying, delighting and nourishing customers for nearly four decades – they’re doing an amazing job and we want that to continue.”
Amazon has been making its own efforts to crack into the grocery market, offering a food delivery service to Prime members through its Prime Now and Prime Fresh services in select city markets (the Twin Cities has access to Prime Now, but not Prime Fresh).
Last week it took aim at competitor Walmart by offering cheaper Prime membership to people enrolled in government assistance programs, but the purchase of Whole Foods represents an effort to attract a different demographic.
Business Insider found in 2015 that a typical Whole Foods shopper is a woman aged 25-29 with more than $1,000 in “discretionary monthly income” and prefers to buy organic or fair-trade food.
GoMN’s Tip Jar feature recently compared the prices of grocery stores in the Twin Cities, and found Whole Foods Market to be easily the most expensive.