Yet the idea that the upscale natural-foods-oriented chain with an outsized reputation for hefty price tags -- remember its derisive moniker: "Whole Paycheck" -- is charging less has consumers and the grocery industry consider the impact this price-trimming will have on pocketbooks, shopping patterns and competitors.
"Amazon will certainly be able to extract more value from its supply chain by combining the scale it has from its own massive logistics operations along with the infrastructure of Whole Foods," said Forrester technology analyst James McQuivey.
"The (profit) margins at Whole Foods probably were too high," said Jeff Roster, vice president of retail strategy at the IHL Group, a research and advisory firm based in Franklin, Tenn. "'Whole Paycheck' wasn't just a meme.
Despite its reputation as a price cutter, Amazon risks alienating the devoted customers if it lowers quality at Whole Foods, a chain that built organic into a national trend that has seeped into traditional supermarkets.
"Amazon can Lower Prices without putting any pressure on suppliers," said Bill Bishop, co-founder of Brick Meets Click, a retail consultancy headquartered in Barrington, Ill. "They probably don't want to do anything to jeopardize the quality or brand value of Whole Foods."
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