Amazon cuts Whole Foods prices as much as 43% on first day

Cuts add another front to price war already raging across supermarket sector

Amazon. com spent its first day as the owner of a bricks-and-mortar grocery chain cutting prices at Whole Foods Market.

At the Whole Foods on 57th Street in Manhattan, New York, organic avocados were marked down to $1.99 each from $2.79; organic rotisserie chickens fell to $9.99 each from $13.99 and the price of some bananas was slashed to 49 cents per pound from 79 cents. The items marked down had orange signs reading "Whole Foods + Amazon." The signs listed the old price, the new price and "More to come...".

Lori McNichol, a resident of Manhattan's Upper East Side, said she was doing her regular grocery shopping on Monday morning and wasn't lured by lower prices. Still, she has high hopes for the supermarket's new owner.

“I thought I could probably get things delivered, which would be exciting,” she said.


Amazon acquired the upscale supermarket chain for $13.7 billion, sending competitors such as Kroger Co, Costco Wholesale and Wal-Mart Stores reeling. Whole Foods earned a reputation for high prices, getting the nickname Whole Paycheck.

The cuts add another front to a price war that’s already raging across the supermarket sector. Retailers from Wal-Mart to European-based discounters look to grab shoppers’ attention. The battle has shaved profit margins and prompted companies to look at new selling strategies, like Wal-Mart’s decision last week to sell its goods on Google’s online marketplace.

Shares of Kroger fell as much as 2 per cent in early trading on Monday. – (Bloomberg)