Whole Foods’ price slashing is paying offSeptember 11, 2017
By Lisa Fickenscher | New York Post
Who knew discount avocados could draw such a crowd?
Foot traffic at Whole Foods stores spiked by more than 25 percent over two days last week — one week after Amazon.com completed its acquisition of the grocer and cut prices on some items as much as 43 percent.
The price of organic bananas was cut to 69 cents a pound from 99 cents, organic brown eggs were cut to $3.99 from $4.29 and organic avocados were discounted to $1.99 each from $2.79.
The spike in traffic was tracked by Foursquare Labs, which compared shoppers’ mobile whereabouts.
Online sales also soared last week when shoppers were able to purchase more than 2,000 Whole Foods items on Amazon.com, according to One Click Retail, which found that Amazon sold $500,000 worth of products via its Prime Pantry and Amazon Fresh venues.
Top-selling items were water, turkey breast lunch meat, frozen berries, canned beans, coconut water and tomato paste, some of which sold out entirely.
“There will be an increase in irrational exuberance leading to higher store traffic and sales initially,” said retail consultant Burt Flickinger, managing director of Strategic Resource Group. “But Whole Foods’ prices are still in the highest stratosphere.”
Flickinger estimates that Whole Foods prices are between 25 percent and 35 percent more expensive than many of its competitors’ and that it will take Amazon a decade to bring them down to a competitive level.
To be sure, the Amazon price cuts affected some 50 items out of 15,000 carried by a typical Whole Foods store.
“Whole Foods dropped the prices on less than 1 percent of its offerings, but at the same time competitors [like Target] have lowered prices in response,” Flickinger said. “We are entering a food price war of unprecedented proportions.”