Amazon is planning to expand the reach of Whole Foods stores across the US by building a number of new retail facilities, with the aim of putting more customers within range of the retail giant's two-hour delivery service, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal (WSJ).
When Amazon acquired Whole Foods for $13.5bn in 2017, one of the first changes it made was to start offering discounts to Amazon Prime members and to sell Amazon devices in store. Last year it began to introduce free grocery delivery in select areas for Prime members, as well as offering shoppers the ability to pick up Amazon orders at Whole Foods brick and mortar stores.
However, WSJ's report suggested that in 2019 Amazon has planned a significant expansion on these services into states where it currently has no stores such as in Idaho and Wyoming, and it has been looking to build in more suburban locations such as the Rocky Mountain region. The company has been scouting out potential sites that are much bigger than average Whole Foods stores, with early reports suggesting that the expansion will allow additional space for Amazon to store more products and expand its order pickup services.
"The push would bring Whole Foods to more suburbs and to other area where the natural grocer is quickly adding customers since the merger," reported the WSJ. "That is a shift from the layoffs and slowing store growth Whole Food experienced for several years before Amazon bought it."
2018 was a tumultuous year for Amazon. In September, it became the second publicly traded company to reach a market value of $1trillion – just behind Apple – before losing $250bn – 25% of its value – in the eight weeks that followed. The retail giant finished the year by enjoying a record-breaking festive season.