Amazon will begin a wave of price cuts at Whole Foods less than a week after its acquisition was approved by shareholders and regulators.
From Monday, Whole Foods will offer lower prices on a selection of its products across its 460-plus stores, nine of which are in the UK.
Monday is also the day that Amazon’s $13.7 billion (£10.7 billion) acquisition deal with Whole Foods Market will be closed, and it is being viewed by industry experts as the online retail giant’s strongest and most direct push into bricks-and-mortar retail.
In addition to the price cuts at Whole Foods, which could accelerate the ongoing price wars between existing grocers in the UK, Amazon’s online grocer AmazonFresh will begin to offer a selection of Whole Foods’ products and Amazon Lockers will be available in selected Whole Foods stores in the UK.
Amazon and Whole Foods’ technology teams will also begin to integrate Amazon Prime into the Whole Foods point-of-sale system, and when this work is complete, Prime members will receive special savings and in-store benefits.
“We’re determined to make healthy and organic food affordable for everyone,” AmazonWorldwide Consumer chief executive Jeff Wilke said.
“Everybody should be able to eat Whole Foods Market quality – we will lower prices without compromising Whole Foods Market’s long-held commitment to the highest standards.”
On Tuesday, Whole Foods shareholders voted in favour of Amazon’s takeover, while the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released a statement saying it would not block the deal after looking into competition concerns.
The FTC’s Bureau of Competition’s acting director Bruce Hoffman said they had investigated if the takeover would “substantially” lessen competition or if it “constituted an unfair method of competition”.
“Based on our investigation, we have decided not to pursue this matter further,” he said.
Whole Foods co-founder John Mackey will also remain as chief executive and the upmarket grocer will continue to operate under same name.
“By working together with Amazon and integrating in several key areas, we can lower prices and double down on that mission and reach more people with Whole Foods Market’s high-quality, natural and organic food,” he said.
“As part of our commitment to quality, we’ll continue to expand our efforts to support and promote local products and suppliers.
“We can’t wait to start showing customers what’s possible when Whole Foods Market and Amazon innovate together.”