Amazon said Thursday it expects to complete its $13.7 billion deal for Whole Foods this upcoming Monday, with plans to slash prices on a handful of popular items at the high-end grocer immediately after closing.
“We will lower prices without compromising Whole Foods Market’s long-held commitment to the highest standards,” Jeff Wilke, CEO of Amazon Worldwide Consumer, said in a statement.
Amazon said it also plans to make Amazon Prime the customer rewards program for Whole Foods, offering “special savings and in-store benefits” for Prime members. The change will happen after “certain technical integration work is complete,” but no specific date was mentioned.
The decision to immediately cut prices fits with Amazon’s reputation as a lower-priced retailer. Amazon is also known for its long-term planning, forgoing a buck today to make two tomorrow, so it may be hoping to goose interest at Whole Foods early on to build up a base of loyal Prime members. The move should also help Whole Foods invite back customers, after it’s struggled to grow due to its “Whole Paycheck” reputation and increased competition from other grocers.
Thursday’s announcement is also notable because Amazon has been mostly mum about what it plans to do with Whole Foods, with many left to speculate over what an tie-up of the two companies would look like.
Starting Monday, Whole Foods will lower prices on some of its best-selling staples across its 460 stores, with Amazon promising more price cut to some in the future. Included in the price cuts are Whole Trade bananas, organic avocados, organic large brown eggs, organic responsibly-farmed salmon and tilapia, organic baby kale and baby lettuce, animal-welfare-rated 85% lean ground beef, creamy and crunchy almond butter, organic Gala and Fuji apples, organic rotisserie chicken, 365 Everyday Value organic butter.
The company said Whole Foods’ private label products — including 365 Everyday Value, Whole Foods Market, Whole Paws and Whole Catch — will be available through Amazon.com, AmazonFresh, Prime Pantry and Prime Now. Also, Amazon Lockers will be planed in some Whole Foods stores.