Since its founding as an online bookstore in 1994, Amazon.com Inc. has increasingly expanded its reach in a quest to sell the full spectrum of goods from A to Z. Now, as a $136-billion-a-year company, Amazon offers everything from wristwatches to tires to blenders to fresh produce, and, of course, books. The announcement last Friday that Amazon would buy upscale grocery chain Whole Foods Markets, Inc., for $13.7 billion cash set off waves of speculation about what this acquisition means for the two retail giants – and what it portends more broadly for e-commerce and grocery retail.
In 2016, Whole Foods reported sales of $16 billion and a retail footprint of 460 stores in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, so the merger would establish Amazon’s strong presence in physical stores in dramatic and immediate fashion.. . . more