In the short time Amazon has owned Whole Foods, it has worked to apply its own strengths to the grocery business’s operation. Heather Haddon and Laura Stevens report:
A year after Amazon bought Whole Foods for $13.5 billion, the e-commerce company is making its mark on the nation’s largest natural and organic supermarket. Year-over-year sales at Whole Foods stores are up since the takeover, as consumers respond to new delivery options and enhanced benefits for Amazon Prime members. The store recently introduced 10% discounts for Prime members at all 460 stores, and it offers two-hour delivery in 19 cities.
Employees said Amazon’s changes since its August purchase closed have been gradual and considered, and many said they were relieved that activist investors are no longer putting pressure on Whole Foods, as they were in 2017 after two years of falling sales and before the chain sold itself to Amazon.
One thing that hasn’t changed: Whole Foods co-founder John Mackey is still at the helm and continues to spend time in stores, talking to employees and checking out operations.
Still, Amazon is exerting its influence. Whole Foods has hired workers from Amazon, including a new head of compensation and benefits who worked at Amazon’s Seattle headquarters for nearly four years as senior compensation manager. Amazon also has been looking for a Seattle-based executive to develop products for Whole Foods and work with the companies “on everything from strategy to execution,” according to a job posting.
Read more here in The Wall Street Journal.