E-commerce giant Amazon (AMZN) announced Friday it will snap up struggling grocery chain Whole Foods Market (WFM) for $42 per share in an all-cash deal valued about $13.7 billion including debt. "Millions of people love Whole Foods Market because they offer the best natural and organic foods, and they make it fun to eat healthy," said Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos in a statement. "Whole Foods Market has been satisfying, delighting and nourishing customers for nearly four decades – they're doing an amazing job and we want that to continue." Under the deal, Whole Foods will continue to operate stores under its independent brand and the company's CEO and founder, John Mackey will remain in his position. Mackey said the partnership allows the Austin, Texas-based food retailer to continue efforts to bring high-quality foods and convince to its customers across America.
A robot will soon be able to handle your groceries for you. Walmart announced Friday that it will soon incorporate automated robotic carts, called Alphabots, in one of its superstores in Salem, New Hampshire. Alphabots can pick and pack shoppers' online orders and complete otherwise mundane tasks in the hopes of streamlining Walmart's online grocery service. 'Alphabot will work behind the scenes to make the process even easier by automatically bringing items from storage to associates who will consolidate the items in the order,' Mark Ibbotson, Walmart's executive vice president of central operations, said in a statement. 'For our pickup associates, that means less time walking the store aisles in search of products and more time ensuring customers are getting the absolute best in fresh produce, meats, etc.' The retail giant installed a 20,000-square-foot extension connected to the store that will house Alphabot.
E-tail giant Amazon.com is pulling the plug on the 87 "pop-up" retail stores found in such locations as Kohl's and Whole Foods. This was first reported by the Wall Street Journal, but confirmed by Amazon. The store within a store is there to tout Amazon products like Echo speakers, Kindle e-readers and tablets. Meanwhile, Amazon is focusing on the Amazon Books retail stores, which look like a traditional bookstore when you enter but have a good chunk of space devoted to both Amazon products and third-party offerings that work in conjunction with the Echo smart speaker, like smart lights and security cameras. Additionally, Amazon said it wants to expand its "4-star" stores, where products highly rated by Amazon customers are offered for sale.
Amazon customers now have a growing list of options when it comes to returning their online purchases in person. In addition to any of the hundreds of Whole Foods supermarkets across the country, certain Kohl's stores will now accept returns of "eligible items" as part of a retail partnership between the two companies that began earlier this summer. SEE ALSO: Amazon's out of the original Amazon Echo right now, and they won't say why The hassle of sending back unwanted products can be one of the biggest deterrents to online shopping and one of the most expensive operational costs for retailers. Starting next month, more than 80 Kohl's locations in the Chicago and Los Angeles area will begin packing and shipping returns back to the online shopping giant's warehouses free of charge. The stores will even have specially designated parking spots for Amazon returns customers.
If you haven't heard, Amazon just launched a promo for a storefront that sells meal kits and grocery basics with no checkout lines. It's based in Seattle and currently open to Amazon employees, with the public launch set for early 2017. While Amazon hasn't explained their "Just Walk Out" technology that powers the storefront, they do provide a video of the charming shopping experience that will leave you wishing your local grocery store was an Amazon Go. Amazon Go is Amazon's attempt to grab a foothold in the grocery industry. Even with Amazon Pantry, Amazon only controls 1% of the $800 billion US market.