Amazon Hasn't Exactly Blown Up the Grocery Business Yet

The online giant has barely touched prices or anything else at Whole Foods.

By Sarah Halzack, April 3, 2018, 8:57 AM PDT--  When Inc. splashed out $13.7 billion last year to buy Whole Foods Market, there were myriad reasons for traditional supermarkets to feel threatened.

High on the list of fears was that the e-commerce juggernaut would do what it had done many times before: slash prices aggressively to grab market share. Indeed, in August, Amazon cut prices on a selection of staples such as bananas and eggs and said more cuts were coming, a hint it was using this familiar playbook. 

But roughly seven months after the Whole Foods acquisition closed, it's hard to argue Amazon has gotten very far in knocking down the grocery chain's "Whole Paycheck" reputation.

Analysts at Gordon Haskett Research Advisors have been periodically checking prices on a basket of more than 100 items at Whole Foods. Their latest study found that the price of the basket in March had barely budged since their last check in November, falling just 0.1 percent. The price of the basket is down a modest 1.2 percent from a check in August before the deal closed.

That's such a slight difference, I suspect many shoppers haven't even noticed it. Plus, the analysts found wide variation across product categories, with some prices actually higher in March than in November.

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