Price reductions on hundreds of items, plus exclusive deals for Amazon Prime members, will roll out in stores on Wednesday.
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Whole Foods Market and Amazon announced that all customers will benefit from a price reduction on hundreds of items—namely produce—and Amazon Prime members will receive even more exclusive weekly deals than ever before.
This announcement comes after Amazon acquired the food retailer in 2017 and promised a reduction in prices nationwide, many of which went back up in February of this year.
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Starting Wednesday, Whole Foods shoppers can expect to see an average price reduction of 20 percent on select items throughout the store, with an emphasis on in-season produce and meat. Prices on greens, tropical fruits, tomatoes, and more will all be reduced throughout the month of April.
Whole Foods and Amazon said Prime members can also expect twice the amount of exclusive weekly deals they are used to seeing. Items such as Justin’s nut butter, Epic snacks, Kite Hill non-dairy products, and Whole Foods prepared sandwiches and wraps will all be marked down, and Prime shoppers can expect up to 35 percent off on select fresh meats through the end of the month.
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Whole Foods also announced customers who try Prime starting Wednesday through the end of April are eligible for $10 off a $20 in-store purchase. New members can try Amazon Prime free for 30 days, and with more than 300 exclusive Prime deals expected to roll out this month, now’s the time to join if you haven’t already.
“Whole Foods Market continues to maintain the high quality standards that we’ve championed for nearly 40 years and, with Amazon, we will lower more prices in the future, building on the positive momentum from previous price investments,” said John Mackey, Whole Foods Market co-founder and CEO. “The standards for how our products are sourced, grown and produced are powerful and set Whole Foods Market apart from the competition. We will continue to focus on both lowering prices and bringing customers the quality they trust and the innovative assortment they expect from our brand.”
Amazon cuts Whole Foods prices for Prime members in new grocery showdown
(Reuters) - Amazon.com Inc AMZN.O and Whole Foods Market are making a surgical strike in the already brutal grocery price war.
On Wednesday, Whole Foods debuted a much-anticipated loyalty program that offers special discounts to Prime customers, including 10 percent off hundreds of sale items and rotating weekly specials such as $10 per pound off wild-caught halibut steaks.
Those perks are available now in Florida and will roll out to all other stores starting this summer. Amazon previously announced free two-hour delivery from Whole Foods stores for members of Prime, its subscription club with fast shipping and video streaming.
The new loyalty strategy will test whether Amazon's $13.7 billion deal for Whole Foods brings much-feared disruption and an intensified price war to the $800 billion U.S. grocery industry dominated by Walmart Inc WMT.N and Kroger Co KR.N .
Whole Foods, with 463 U.S. stores and roughly 1 percent share of the fragmented U.S. grocery market, has gained momentum since the Amazon merger last summer, Whole Foods co-founder and Chief Executive John Mackey told Reuters.
Closely watched basket size - the number of items purchased per transaction - has grown since the merger, said Mackey. He declined to offer specifics.
Mackey is betting on Prime to convince shoppers wary of its “Whole Paycheck” reputation that it is an affordable option for more of their purchases.
The new perks could make Whole Foods cheaper than conventional grocers for about 8 million of its customers who already subscribe to Amazon Prime, according to Morgan Stanley analysts.
Prime members scan an app or input their phone numbers at checkout to receive the discounts.
Still, Philadelphia-area Whole Foods shopper and Prime member Heather Kincade, 46, is going to need convincing.
While Whole Foods’ prices on staples like rotisserie chicken, bananas and avocados have come down, she still thinks some every day items are prohibitively expensive. “If I start buying dish soap and other things there, I will have hit the big time,” she said.
Amazon Slashed Prices at Whole Foods. Now They’re Climbing Back Up.
The inflation-based increases at Whole Foods range from 10 cents to several dollars, a price list reviewed by The Wall Street Journal shows.
Whole Foods is raising prices again, bowing to pressure from some consumer-product makers to cover rising packaging, ingredient and transportation costs on hundreds of products.
Internal communications reviewed by The Wall Street Journal show the natural grocer raised prices from 10 cents to several dollars as suppliers have boosted their prices in the face of growing costs. Retailers across the spectrum are starting to pass along similar price increases in response to the growing signs of inflation. Amazon.com Inc. cut prices after acquiring Whole Foods in 2017 to try to counter the grocer’s high-cost reputation that earned it the nickname Whole Paycheck. But even the e-commerce giant has limits as to price increases pushed by suppliers.
Whole Foods increased prices this month on dozens of items from Dr. Bronner’s soaps to Häagen-Dazs ice cream, according to an email viewed by the Journal. A separate company email in December listed 550 additional price increases on products including crackers, olives and cookies.
Whole Foods said in the December email that suppliers were charging more for those products due to inflation. The separate price increases this month followed the expiration of annual contracts to sell about 700 goods at low prices, Whole Foods said. Those contracts won’t be renewed, the chain said, and the increases add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars a week in additional revenue.
Several consumer-goods companies, including Procter & Gamble Co. and Clorox Co. , have recently raised prices or pledged to do so, to offset the higher costs of raw materials and boost profits. Nearly half of 52 consumer-goods manufacturers surveyed recently by consulting firm Acosta raised prices last year.
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Whole Foods Announces Price Drop on More Than 500 Items
America’s favorite fancy supermarket, Whole Foods, and parent company Amazon, have announced the slashing of prices on more than 500 items in an effort to shed its image as overpriced food retailer of record.
Taking effect today, and focused largely on produce and some meats, marked-down items will see an average drop of 20 percent with some cut as much as 50 percent. In an official press release and joint statement released earlier this week, Amazon said its Prime members can also expect to save an additional 10 percent on Whole Foods sales items and deeper weekly discounts, including “more than 300 Prime member deals” on some of the season’s most popular items.
Introducing … New. Lower. Prices. Explore produce and so much more at https://t.co/ZeQr1TxUfn. pic.twitter.com/D3FAvgn0Wu
— Whole Foods Market (@WholeFoods) April 3, 2019
Just a few of the items included in the brand’s new pricing structure include organic asparagus (down $2 per pound), large yellow mangos (now just $1 each), and air-chilled chicken (down to just $1.79 per pound and a savings of 40 percent).
Amazon and Whole Foods are making it easy to peruse the discounts with a “New Lower Price” filter (although at last check it seemed to be experiencing some technical difficulty), but we’ve gathered a few of our Whole Foods favorites with their shiny new price tags for your convenience!
Whole Foods Announces Price Cuts on Hundreds of Items
Price reductions on hundreds of items, plus exclusive deals for Amazon Prime members, will roll out in stores on Wednesday.
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Whole Foods CEO: We’re in a 'virtuous circle' of cutting costs and lowering grocery prices
Whole Foods CEO John Mackey told CNBC on Tuesday that the Amazon-owned grocery chain remains committed to reducing its food prices, building off a series of previous cuts.
"We're going to continue to lower our prices over time at Whole Foods," he said on "Power Lunch." "Cut our costs, lower prices, get more business, lower prices, cut costs, and so I think we're in a virtuous circle right now."
Mackey, who co-founded the pioneering organic grocer 40 years ago, credited synergies with Amazon for being a key driver of the price reduction. The e-commerce titan acquired Whole Foods, which has long carried a reputation of being expensive, for $13.7 billion in 2017.
"We've made three significant price reductions since the merger, and we have a fourth that we're beginning now," said Mackey, whose new book, "Conscious Leadership: Elevating Humanity Through Business," was released Tuesday.
Mackey's comments come as the U.S. continues to battle the coronavirus pandemic, during which grocery prices have increased as supply chain issues bubbled up, particularly in the meat industry. Rodney McMullen, CEO of Kroger, the nation's largest supermarket chain, told CNBC last week he sees food inflation stabilizing after early pandemic-related rises.
For Whole Foods, Mackey said taking a broad look at its business operations has created the space for the price reductions in recent years.
"You have to work on every detail of your business. You have to look at where you're spending your money. Amazon's brought new critical tools to Whole Foods to help us think it through — to cut down our shrink, cut down our spoilage, cut down our theft that's occurring," he said. "We're just bringing a more critical eye to our costs at Whole Foods."
In September 2019, Whole Foods said it was changing its eligibility requirements to buy into health-care coverage, raising the minimum to 30 hours worked per week up from 20 hours. At the time, the company indicated about 1,900 workers, or less than 2%, would no longer be eligible under the change that was set to go into effect in January.
Mackey noted Whole Foods has a minimum wage of $15 for employees, a policy implemented company-wide for Amazon's U.S. workers in 2018. "That's forcing us to be more productive. . To partly compensate for that, we're doing some automation," he said, such as more self-service checkouts. He also alluded to other changes that "I'm not really free to talk about" and further technology integration between Whole Foods and Amazon.
"The net result is we are lowering our costs," he added.
Earlier this month, Amazon opened a Whole Foods location in Brooklyn, New York, that is designed specifically to fulfill online grocery orders, which have surged in popularity during the pandemic. It's the company's first store concept of that kind.
Mackey said he believes the increased adoption of online grocery shopping will stick for some people. But he said he feels that "more and more people will return to their old patterns" as the health crisis subsides. He said, "There will be more people shopping online going forward than there were pre-Covid, but it'll be back to pretty much the way it was a year or two from now."
Two Years After Amazon Deal, Whole Foods Is Still Working To Shed Its ‘Whole Paycheck’ Image
Two years after Amazon bought natural grocer Whole Foods, the organic supermarket chain still has a . [+] significant price premium gap over major grocers like Kroger, according to a study. (Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images)
When Amazon made its $13.7 billion purchase of Whole Foods in 2017, the Seattle e-commerce giant vowed to make the natural and organic grocer’s products “affordable for everyone.” But that promise still appears to be a work in progress.
Since Amazon in April installed its third round of price cuts at Whole Foods—which involved hundreds of items at an average price cut of 20%—prices at the supermarket chain have dropped an average of about 2.5% through August from a year earlier, according to Morgan Stanley’s monthly price checks at food retailers in different regions across the U.S.
The study, released Tuesday, found that the price premium gap Whole Foods commands over regional supermarket chains has fallen by almost half, to about 12% to 13%, from 20% before Amazon’s purchase. However, when compared with national supermarket chain Kroger, Whole Foods’ price premium gap remained a “still significant” 27% on average, despite declining from a difference of as much as 40% in the past, according to the study.
The basket of goods the investment bank studied cost $190 at Whole Foods, just $10 less, or 5% less, than the cost two years ago. And the new combined price tag was still about $40 more than what the batch would cost at Kroger, Morgan Stanley said.
“Whole Foods prices are falling modestly,” the report said, adding that prices at the grocer had picked up an average of 3% from January to March as suppliers reportedly passed on cost-inflation-related increases.
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Kroger is the No. 2 U.S. brick-and-mortar grocery retailer, with a 9% share of the market in 2018, trailing No. 1 Walmart and its 26% share, according to Euromonitor data. Amazon, through Whole Foods, was No. 9.
Amazon reported flat quarterly physical store sales of $4.3 billion in July, mostly from Whole Foods and its roughly 500 stores.
“Despite significant efforts to boost sales with discounts at Whole Foods, Amazon has generated relatively little fizz in its growth,” Moody’s said in a report in June. “Amazon’s promotions have yet to catch hold.”
The credit ratings agency estimated that Amazon, thanks to Whole Foods, generated $18 billion to $20 billion in grocery-equivalent revenue in 2018, significantly shy of the $270 billion in U.S. grocery sales it estimated that Walmart, including Sam’s Club, posted.
Grocery is “an area where (Amazon) is still very much a newcomer in an industry heavily dominated by Walmart,” Moody’s said.
I have covered the retail industry for well over a decade and written for publications including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg News. I have
I have covered the retail industry for well over a decade and written for publications including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg News. I have also been ranked as a top industry influencer since 2013. An innate curiosity about how things work and what sets one brand apart from another drives my coverage, described as “a distinct voice in a sea of noise.” I’m noted for my ability to distill scoops of insight from commodity news and create ahead-of-the-curve trend-setting pieces. Interviews with newsmakers or on-the-ground coverage of major events aren’t the only things that interest me. I’m just as eager to take in the stories of consumers. My passion in storytelling goes beyond retail. Originally from Taiwan as an ambassadorial scholar and having penned many columns about life and culture, I’m equally driven by a sense of mission to tell stories that inspire and touch hearts
Whole Foods promised to cut prices. We checked to see if they did.
Using a standard market basket of items, our savings totaled $2 compared to a February price check.
Amazon wants you to know it has lowered prices again at its Whole Foods Market stores.
The online retailer last week announced plans to cut prices and began displaying bright orange signs at Whole Foods promising “Same high standards, new lower price.”
A price check by the American-Statesman on Wednesday at the Whole Foods headquarters store on North Lamar Boulevard in Austin revealed that the cost savings after the newest price cuts are fairly small -- about 2 percent.
A basket of 24 items included in the price check came to a total price of $100.56 -- or $2 less than the $102.56 the same items cost when they were checked on Feb. 28. The Wednesday total is $7.61 less than the $108.17 total price on Aug. 25, 2017, just days before Amazon completed its $13.7 billion acquisition of Whole Foods.
One of the items that has usually been checked, a pint of conventional blueberries, was not in stock at the store Wednesday, so the newspaper compared the 24 other items that have been checked since the merger.
Items such as a pound of organic Fuji apples, 365-brand marinara pasta sauce and organic Heirloom tomatoes had, in fact, dropped in price since Amazon’s price-cut announcement. Other items, such as a loaf of country french bread, were the same price or lower than before Amazon took over Whole Foods, but had risen in price since the check in February.
Meanwhile, items such as a 6-ounce pack of organic raspberries and a gallon of 365-brand organic milk were higher than before the merger closed.
On April 1, Amazon said it would lower prices on hundreds of products throughout the Whole Foods chain, which now totals 500 stores in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. It’s not the first time Amazon has sought to change Whole Foods' high-price reputation, having also cut prices on the first day it owned the grocer.
“We will continue to focus on both lowering prices and bringing customers the quality they trust and the innovative assortment they expect from our brand,” Whole Foods CEO John Mackey said in a written statement last week.
Amazon’s latest move is seen by the industry as another attempt at fending off competitors such as Walmart and Kroger.
But the company has also found it difficult to balance cost cutting at Whole Foods while maintaining the grocer's high-quality product offerings. Price checks by the American-Statesman and other researchers throughout the past year and a half have shown the seesaw effect on prices at stores. Industry analysts say it is common for grocery chains to raise prices on some items as they are trying to lower prices on others.
Amazon has also not brought as many of its Amazon Prime customers into Whole Foods as it might have expected. Only 11 percent f Prime members shop at Whole Foods several times a month, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.
Since taking over Whole Foods, most of Amazon’s sales have targeted Amazon Prime members, with members -- who pay $119 per year for a suite of Amazon services -- saving an additional 10 percent off sale items marked with yellow and blue Prime stickers.
Wednesday’s price check also revealed that some of the prices Whole Foods is claiming to have lowered after Amazon’s recent decision are not actually lower. A 12-pack of LaCroix sparkling water and a pound of 85/15 ground beef, for example, both had orange stickers marketing them as being part of the recent price cuts -- but the sticker prices were the same as when the Statesman checked in February.
Amazon is slashing Whole Foods' prices by 20% on hundreds of items
Amazon is slashing prices by as much as 20% on hundreds of items at Whole Foods this week, the companies said on Monday.
The cuts, set to take effect on Wednesday, will target fresh peak-season produce such as greens, tomatoes, and tropical fruits.
Amazon also said on Monday that it would double the number of Prime-member deals available to Whole Foods shoppers. Customers should expect more than 300 Prime-member deals in stores over the next few months, the company said.
In a press release announcing the cuts, Whole Foods CEO John Mackey said customers can expect the grocer to lower prices even more in the future.
"We will continue to focus on both lowering prices and bringing customers the quality they trust and the innovative assortment they expect from our brand," he said.
A post on Amazon's Day One blog reiterated that the cuts "will not happen at the expense of the quality that customers know and expect from" Whole Foods.
Amazon has been criticized for failing to make much of a dent in prices at Whole Foods since purchasing the grocery chain for $13.7 billion in 2017.
Prices were a little cheaper for a period of time, then rose again. Amazon is now reportedly planning to launch a new grocery-store chain with stores that are smaller and cheaper than Whole Foods, and carry a broader assortment of products.
Amazon Escalates Grocery Wars With Whole Foods Price Cuts On Hundreds Of Items
Amazon is cutting prices on more than 500 items at Whole Foods stores, in what the e-Commerce giant describes as its “biggest investment” in lowering prices to date. Whole Foods customers will save an average of 20% on the new reduced-priced items, according to a company statement.
In addition to the price cuts, Whole Foods is adding more perks for Prime members. They now qualify for two-hour delivery at Whole Foods, can use Alexa to add groceries to their Prime Now cart and can arrange for grocery pickup within 30 minutes at some locations. Prime members already received an additional 10% discount on hundreds of sale items and weekly discounts,and 5% cash back when they used Amazon’s Visa rewards card in stores.
“This is widely being planned as an attempt to reshape Whole Foods’ high-cost image,” said Jon Reily, VP, Global Commerce Strategy Lead at Publicis Sapient in commentary provided to Retail TouchPoints. “However, I see it as a shot across the bow of Aldi and Walmart to say ‘we are safe in our own space, now we are coming after your customers with lower prices and member only deals’ two things neither the German or Bentonville grocery giants can compete with if Amazon puts its mind to it. They simply don’t have the margins or capital.”
With the price cuts and added Prime perks, Amazon “recognizes the cutthroat competitive landscape in food retailing, led by Walmart’s relentless push to continue expanding its leading market position in the segment,” said Charlie O’Shea, VP and Lead Retail Analyst at Moody’s. “While Walmart has the wherewithal and willingness to meet the Amazon threat in food, as well as a different customer demographic, other food retailers will continue to feel the pressure from the ongoing and now-escalating battle between Amazon and Walmart, with this battle continuing to impact almost all retail categories.”
The Whole Foods price cuts will be concentrated on produce items such as greens, tomatoes and tropical fruits. Through the end of April, Whole Foods customers can get $10 off their $20 purchase in-store at Whole Foods Market when they try Prime online.
The specialty grocer’s last major price cut for all customers was in November 2017, specifically on holiday staples such as sweet potatoes, canned pumpkin and turkey.The company first slashed prices on nearly 500 grocery items in August 2017, shortly after its $13.7 billion purchase closed. But Whole Foods actually raised prices on approximately 550 products in February 2019 amid supplier pressures.
While the Amazon-Whole Foods acquisition definitely shook the grocery landscape when the news dropped, the partnership hasn’t rapidly driven Prime members into Whole Foods stores. Only 11% of Prime members said they shop at Whole Foods several times per month, according to Wolfe Research. By comparison, 65% of Prime members shop on Amazon’s web site at least that often.