New Whole Foods Market stores may soon be opening according to Amazon’s most recent earnings call last week. CFO Brian Olsavsky said that the company plans to add locations in California, Washington, D.C., and Austin, Texas. Olsavsky also revealed on the call that Amazon would be adding new store configurations and formats, though what exactly this will entail remains unclear.
“The e-tailer seems to view Whole Foods, at least in part, as a lab that will help it develop new physical retail stores across industries, which could include grocery,” reports Food Dive.
Quartz adds that “the company envisions nothing less than using the Whole Foods infrastructure to build itself into the real, physical lives of everyday Americans,” noting that it is likely that Amazon will use Whole Foods as a testing ground for other experiments in physical retail. Food Dive agrees, saying that Amazon will probably use Whole Foods Market stores as “showrooms” for Amazon services and technology.
“Whole Foods stores could become spaces where Amazon drives adoption of its AmazonFresh and Prime Now delivery services,” writes Food Dive.
These theories are supported by statements made by Olsavsky during the call, notably that Amazon sees “a lot of opportunity” with the cooperation among Prime Now, AmazonFresh, and Whole Foods Market, including some developments that have already been rolled out, such as selling Whole Foods products on the Amazon site and installing Amazon Lockers at Whole Foods Market stores.
“There’ll be a lot of integration, a lot of touch points and a lot of working together as we go forward,” he says.
Last week, Whole Foods Market showed its intention to expand with the announcement of a National Hiring Day at all of its U.S. stores November 2, with a goal of hiring 6,000 new team members in part-time, full-time, seasonal, and permanent positions.
Since its acquisition of Whole Foods Market, Amazon has made several changes, including lowering prices on a range of key grocery items and converting the Whole Foods customer rewards program to Amazon Prime.
Amazon just reported its tenth straight profitable quarter: sales were up 34 percent to $43.7 billion, $1.3 billion of which came from Whole Foods Market.
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