For purist Whole Foodies, Amazon's takeover triggers downmarket angst

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For purist Whole Foodies, Amazon's takeover triggers downmarket angst

Mackey spoke at a town hall with Whole Foods employees after the deal was announced late last week, according to a transcript of the talk filed Monday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

"We thought Amazon was thrifty in its offer", said Charles Kantor, managing director at Neuberger Berman Investment Advisers LLC, which owns around 2.7 percent of Whole Foods shares and had pressured the company to take steps to improve its stock price.

Can Amazon, the company that persuaded people to buy ever more items online, win enough of them over to having their fresh groceries arrive in an Amazon box? It was truly love at first sight ...

USA Today business reporter Zlati Meyer said the deal could combine two giant companies that could disrupt the market, but in a way that could benefit consumers: the competition could force other grocery stores to lower prices.

It appears that the Whole Foods deal is the beginning of the endgame for Amazon.

TheStreet visited three grocery locations in New York's financial district, and of those three, Whole Foods noticeably thrived.

Turner noted that Whole Foods has large store footprints in most of GrubHub's key geographies, including California, Massachusetts, Illinois and NY.

Spinning off a separate brand and using Amazon's technology and customer data, while leveraging Whole Foods' logistics infrastructure and knowledge of the grocery industry could help keep the grocer's flagship brand pure with its core customers while letting Amazon capitalize on its grocery ambitions.

Later, an Amazon executive begins to tell the crowd that Mackey will stay on as CEO - and is interrupted by Mackey, who chimes in, "Until death do us part".

Kantor noted that Amazon's market cap gain roughly equaled the amount the company is paying for Whole Foods. (ROST), Wal-Mart Stores Inc. Her daughter Bethany Capels agrees and says she likes Whole Foods for the organic fruits she can serve her kids.

Amazon is known for taking the long view. Rumors already have Amazon making drastic changes to the store's format, now focused on organic groceries and prepared goods.

"Because I think, sometimes, our company's gone a little bit too much team-member focus at the expense of our customers". Jeff Bezos might demand a man cave, in other words, but it "wouldn't be branded Whole Foods Market", he assured his employees, and will definitely occupy the basement level underneath the garage.

Amazon is considering extending the cost-cutting effort with the no-checkout technology it's developing at its Seattle convenience store, "AmazonGo", according to the person familiar with the matter, who asked not to be named because the plans are private.

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