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Whole Foods cuts prices as Amazon extends imprint on chain

A Whole Foods Market in New York.
A Whole Foods Market in New York.AFP/Getty Images/File 2017/AFP/Getty Images

Whole Foods Market says it will lower prices on hundreds of grocery items this week, the latest effort to reshape the grocer’s pricey image under Amazon.com.

The Seattle retail giant touted a round of price cuts immediately after buying Whole Foods in August 2017 and over the last year worked to roll out grocery delivery from store locations and introduce discounts for Amazon Prime members. Whole Foods, which operates fewer than 500 stores, says the latest price cuts average about 20 percent.

Amazon acquired Whole Foods in an effort to catch Walmart, Kroger, and Costco Wholesale in grocery sales. It still has a long way to go. There are about 10 Walmart locations in the US for every Whole Foods.

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There have been price increases, too: The Wall Street Journal reported in February that rising costs for packaging, ingredients and transportation had pushed Whole Foods to increase prices on hundreds of items late last year and early in 2019. The newspaper also reported the news of the current price cuts earlier Monday.

Whole Foods said in an e-mailed statement that the grocery industry as a whole was dealing with higher costs and that it had absorbed much of the price hikes instead of passing them on to customers.