On its first day as part of Amazon.com, organic grocery chain Whole Foods Market Inc. slashed prices on popular items like avocados and apples by a third as it bid to shake off its “Whole Paycheck” reputation for high prices, Reuters reports.
In another sign of changes to come, a display offering Amazon’s Echo and smaller Echo Dot hands-free smart speakers for US$99.99 and US$44.99, respectively, was nestled amid the colorful produce at the Whole Foods in downtown Los Angeles. Those gadgets sell for the same price on Amazon.com.
The companies signaled last week that they would selectively cut Whole Foods prices starting on Monday, and promised more discounts in the future.
Major supermarket chains and grocery sellers, including Kroger Co., Sprouts Farmers Market Inc., Supervalu Inc., Costco Wholesale Corp. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc., already were grappling with growing pricing pressure when Whole Foods and Amazon announced their US$13.7 billion merger deal on June 16.
Shares in those food sellers have fallen on worries that Amazon could disrupt the grocery business in the same way it did with books and electronics.
Signs posted in Whole Foods’ 450 U.S. stores trumpeted the changes.
The price of organic Hass avocados was slashed by 33 percent to US$1.99 each, down from US$2.99, in the Whole Foods in downtown Los Angeles. Organic Fuji apples sell for US$1.99 a pound, from US$2.99 previously.
Boneless rib eye prices dropped to US$13.99 per pound from $16.99 in downtown Los Angeles, a reduction of nearly 18 percent, while the price for “responsibly farmed” Atlantic salmon filets fell to US$9.99 per pound from US$13.99, down almost 29 percent.
Price cuts varied slightly from city to city. For example, a Whole Foods in Chicago’s West Loop reduced organic avocado prices by 20 percent, while Bloomberg reported that a Manhattan store chopped the price on organic Fuji apples by 43 percent.
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