Whole Foods Offering Discounts, Sales For Amazon Prime Members as Grocery Wars Heat Up

Whole Foods Market (WFM), recently acquired by Amazon (AMZN), said on Wednesday it would offer 10% off sale items and weekly discounts for Amazon Prime members, escalating the grocery stores war as expected.

The discounts are already available at stores in Florida and will expand to all Whole Foods and Whole Foods 365 stories nationally this summer, the company said in a statement. Members would receive the discounts by downloading and scanning the Whole Foods app.

The discounts may make the grocery store, often maligned for being overly expensive, cheaper than many of its competitors for the Amazon Prime subscribers, Morgan Stanley analysts said, according to a Reuters report. Amazon said more there are more than 100 million paid Prime members globally.

Amazon bought Whole Foods in June 2017 for almost $14 billion, injecting the online marketplace company into a very competitive grocery space. At the time of the acquisition, analysts speculated that Amazon’s entry would disrupt the industry because of its sheer power.

Supermarket sales in 2017 totaled almost $683 billion, according to FMI, citing Progressive Grocer Magazine figures. Still, net profit after taxes was just 1.1%.

Prime members will pay $119 a year to belong to the club, up from the prior annual cost of $99. The change went into effect on May 11 and was the first increase since 2014. Existing members, however, have until June 16 to renew their membership at the current price point.

The company said Prime member deals would be “prominently featured” in stores. John Mackey, the co-founder and chief executive of Whole Foods, said the move is an “amazing opportunity.” Prime members already get free two-hour delivery on Whole Foods groceries in 10 cities, a program that’s expected to expand this year.

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