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

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In a town-hall meeting last Friday, the day it was announced that Amazon had agreed to buy the organic grocer for $13.7 billion, Mackey said his company had prioritized employees at the expense of customers - a trend he said would change after the merger.

Whole Foods has been pressured to sell as sales have declined. At the time, Amazon wasn't certain Whole Foods had enough stores to move groceries on the scale the e-commerce giant wanted. 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 taking over the world because that's a real big switch", says Ishmael McIntosh, from Baltimore, a former Whole Foods worker.

Parikh added that Amazon's offer appears to be "undervaluing the company's prospects and the powerful brand" and that Whole Foods could do better.

For years now, the name Whole Foods has been synonymous with high-margin health food.

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The sale still needs approval from whole foods shareholders but the deal is expected to be wrapped up later this year. People might look at a bricks and mortar Amazon store as a novelty but won't think twice about walking into a Whole Foods.

"Until death do us part", Mackey said.

Mr. Mackey likened Friday's deal announcement to an engagement, and "like an old traditional marriage, where there are all kinds of rules and chaperones, we can't consummate the marriage, until we're actually officially hooked up". "I dreamed that we merged with Amazon", he said. I think we could've talked for 10 hours. President Di Di Chan adds, "What makes our solution different is that it works across different formats and is so user-friendly that even my grandmother loves it". At least one customer was concerned that an Amazon purchase would further distance Whole Foods from its roots as a purveyor of premium, organic and specialty foods. "This is not a Tinder relationship.I got a feeling I'm off script".

Walmart is the nation's largest seller of groceries with category sales of $170 billion past year, and retail giant has found that the category is key to driving store visits and customer loyalty. "The company didn't say which banner, Whole Foods Market or 365 by Whole Foods, would lead that growth", Michelle Grant, head of retailing at Euromonitor, wrote to Retail Dive in an email. "Additionally, over the past year, Whole Foods has also pushed their private label offering, especially with the roll out of their spin-off store 365 by Whole Foods".

Some workers at the nonunion grocery chain wondered whether Amazon, known for its hard-driving culture, would mean big changes to their pay, benefits or employment.

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