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More Whole Foods stores in cards as Amazon continues expansion spree

After redefining the retail marketplace through digital onslaught, Amazon (AMZN) is currently shifting focus to its physical retail strategy. The company is all set to add several new units to the Whole Foods store network this year in an effort to further strengthen its foothold in the sector.

According to reports, the new Whole Foods stores being planned by the e-commerce firm, mainly in the Rocky Mountain region where the food retailer has a relatively smaller presence, will have a design that is different from the regular outlets – dedicated areas for the sale of Amazon products and for pickup of orders placed online. The idea is to woo more Amazon Prime members, whose number has been falling in recent times.

Earlier, the Prime members were offered discounts after the company acquired Whole Foods nearly two years ago, which was later complemented with free delivery of grocery to the premium customers at select stores. With more benefits and additional facilities in the offing for Prime members, the stores are expected to witness heavy footfall once opened.

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Moreover, the company intends to operate on thin margins to attract customers and compete more effectively with Walmart (WMT) and Kroger (KR), the traditional retailers who are under pressure due to Amazon’s increasing presence in the brick-and-mortar retail space. Amazon’s unique offers like speedy grocery delivery and pickup service have been a cause of concern for the others.

Amazon shares dropped slightly in the aftermarket trading Wednesday, after closing the regular session up 3%.


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