Amazon is planning to build and expand Whole Foods stores across the U.S. in the hopes of putting more customers within range of its two-hour delivery service, Prime Now, according to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ).
The WSJ reported that this would bring Whole Foods to more suburbs, where it is quickly adding customers. The newspaper added that Whole Foods employees have visited potential retail spaces in Idaho, southern Utah and Wyoming, where Whole Foods currently has no stores. The spaces visited were around 45,000 square feet, according to the WSJ; a little larger than the average Whole Foods store, leaving space to accommodate Amazon delivery and pickup.
Reuters reported that Amazon plans to expand Prime Now, too, bringing it to nearly all Whole Foods stores.
Forbes estimated that Amazon could build upwards of 2,000 Whole Foods Markets, but that the product assortment would have to drastically change, growing to include cheaper, brand-name products, such as Lay’s and Coke, in order to draw in the volume of customers necessary to maintain new stores.
Forbes pointed out that, whereas Walmart currently has 5,352 stores, and Aldi will have 2,500 stores by 2023, there are 479 Whole Foods stores, making other grocers easier and cheaper to access, while selling more basic necessities.