Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods last year had the real estate world wondering if the brick-and-mortar grocer would move more toward an e-commerce model or stick with its stores.
Whole Foods now says it is planning to build new stores and expand to new markets throughout the United States, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Amazon is seeking to bring Whole Foods to more suburbs and locations that would bring customers within the company’s two-hour delivery service. Whole Foods did not say how many new stores it plans to open, but Amazon officials have been looking at locations in Idaho, Utah and Wyoming, all areas where the chain has no locations, according to the Journal.
Whole Foods operates about 475 stores in the United States.
The new stores could be bigger than existing Whole Foods locations, with the extra space being used for Amazon’s delivery services and online order pickup.
After shaking up the retail industry with the popularity of its e-commerce platform, Amazon is now a huge player in the real estate world.
The company is about halfway to its goal of having a warehouse within 20 miles of every U.S. consumer. In September, it opened its first Amazon Go store in Chicago, its first outside of Seattle, as part of its plan for 3,000 new cashier-free stores nationwide that could cost upward of $3 billion.
In November, the Seattle-based company announced it will open two new headquarters in Long Island City and Crystal City, Virginia. The company could occupy as much as 8 million square feet of office space in New York and more than 4 million square feet in suburban Virginia. [WSJ] — Joe Ward