May 23, 2018

Markets Right Now: Grocer stocks plunge on Whole Foods deal

17 June 2017, 07:20 | Cesar Cruz

A Wall Street sign near the New York Stock Exchange on Sept. 30 2008

A Wall Street sign near the New York

Amazon will be able to use automation and data analysis to draw more customers to stores while helping Whole Foods cut costs - and perhaps prices - and better tailor its offerings to customers.

Number of people who work for Amazon in the Lehigh Valley: More than 2,000 people. She feared the merger would simply create another, huge company with too much power over the American consumer. They do services of various sorts, but it is unsettling, isn't it, to think of one huge company. Whole Foods will continue to operate under its own brand, with the acquisition expected to close sometime in the second half of this year. Target Corp.'s stock fell to $50.30, down more than 9 percent. "We do have an aging population".

Groceries are already a fiercely competitive business, with low-priced rivals like Aldi putting pressure on traditional supermarket chains and another discounter, Lidl, opening its first USA stores just this week.

"I think that this takes all of the pressure off Whole Foods and gives Whole Foods the opportunity to revitalize that business and, of course, it stems the criticism from all of these activist investors", said Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail in NY.

However, many large grocery chains took a big hit on the news of this deal.

"Wal-Mart has prepared for this day", said Michelle Grant, head of retailing at Euromonitor International.

Now, it's unlikely that small businesses will be involved in many deals of this magnitude.

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"Whole Foods Market has been satisfying, delighting and nourishing customers for almost four decades-they're doing an unbelievable job and we want that to continue", Amazon Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos said in a press release.

Mickey Chadha, an analyst with Moody's Investor Service, says Amazon has been trying to break into the grocery delivery business and that buying Whole Foods gives it access to a high-income group of customers.

Whole Foods operates supermarkets in Montclair, West Orange, Paramus, Newark, Clark, Morristown, Madison, and other locations in the Garden State. The grocery store operator was also under pressure from activist investor Jana Partners.

Amazon, on the other hand, has been expanding beyond online retail into physical stores.

So what's leading to all this pharmaceutical heartburn over a grocery-retail deal? Online juggernaut Amazon announced Friday, June 16, 2017, that it is buying Whole Foods in a deal valued at about $13.7 billion, including debt.

Amazon is among the biggest name when it comes to the world of e-tail.

"We need to get better, and we're doing that", Whole Foods Chief Executive John Mackey told Texas Monthly in an interview this month.

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