Whole Foods CEO says brand's standards intact under Amazon

Amazon knows this, and its acquisition of Whole Foods is among other things an acknowledgment that the e-commerce giant needs a brick-and-mortar footprint to compete in the grocery space.

"They're not stupid enough to go change that", Whole Foods Chief Executive John Mackey said in a Friday town hall, according to the filing.

Mackey isn't blind to the possible pains of corporate love, though. "These are great people with big hearts and big ideals that wanna make the world a better place and are making the world a better place".

And so we will be joining a company that's visionary. And it was like, "This is gonna be so incredible".

Packaged foods companies do need to think defensively about Amazon's acquisition of Whole Foods.

"We could have talked for 10 hours", he said. And- these guys are really smart people. "There was a sense that that was changing, and now [Amazon] is right in the middle of the industry if this deal goes through". "It is likely that Amazon will utilize Whole Foods to even further expand their private label offering".

"There are no guarantees in life", Mackey said in response to a final question from an audience member to wrap the meeting.

But Whole Foods has struggled in recent years, and the $33.06 price was about half where Whole Foods stock was trading at its peak in October 2013. But Mackey promised a big shift in focus. "If there ever was a time crunch, I'd consider it", he said.

Jennifer Bartashus, an analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence, said that in addition to technology investments, Kroger has a strong base of customers across the USA, including suburban areas outside of the big-city markets where Whole Foods is strongest. Shoppers could pick up their purchases at a Whole Foods store near them the same way they're doing under the AmazonFresh Pickup program.

Mr. Mackey likened Friday's deal announcement to an engagement, and "like an old traditional marriage, where there are all kinds of rules and chaperones, we can't consummate the marriage, until we're actually officially hooked up".

What exactly might these innovations be? Operating margins in the high single digits were a feature of the department store industry not too long ago, giving Amazon plenty of room to undercut those retailers on price.

The line, according to the transcript, garnered laughter from employees in the room.

Mackey said there will be cost-cutting in Whole Foods' future. It's gonna be an unbelievable team for our team member base.

However 14% have said they would consider working for the internet giant. She thinks it's a more reasonably priced service than Amazon provides.

Albertsons Companies Inc., the nation's No. 2 grocery-chain behind Kroger Co., began talking to Whole Foods earlier this year, after activist investor Jana Partners LLC began a campaign in February urging Whole Foods to sell.

"All stores are not going away, it's just a matter of finding the store/online equilibrium", Credit Suisse analysts said in a note. Amazon may change the inventory at Whole Foods as part of broad effort to lower prices.

"Whole Foods does physical well, and Amazon does tech well".

"Very few entities could outbid" Amazon, Short said. We also discuss why Joan still plays the game.

Expect to see Amazon attempt to swoop into Europe and buy up more supermarket chains of a similar size to Whole Foods and repeat the strategy in other markets.

  • Zachary Reyes