Prices reduced at Whole Foods

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AUSTIN, Texas — Amazon this month lowered prices on hundreds of items at Whole Foods Market stores across the United States and introduced even more benefits for Prime members.

Prices were reduced by an average of 20%, with an emphasis on cutting costs on meat, produce and prepared sandwiches and wraps.

The price cuts affect more than 500 items and could last through the end of the year, the company said. This is the third round of price cuts since Amazon purchased Whole Foods in 2017.

Amazon said it is doubling the number of weekly Prime Member deals and offering deeper discounts to paid subscribers. Amazon said it is offering a deal through the end of April that gives new Prime members $10 off a $20 Whole Foods in-store purchase. Shoppers can expect more than 300 Prime member deals on popular seasonal items in the next few months, according to the company.

The Wall Street Journal reported last month that Amazon is planning to introduce urban grocery stores that are separate from Whole Foods Market stores and that could offer a spectrum of goods that includes beauty products, as the digital retailing giant raises its bet that shoppers still want to buy groceries, personal care items and other consumer products at physical stores.

Amazon has an aggressive time line for the store openings, with the first on track to debut as soon as the end of this year, according to the newspaper, citing people familiar with the matter. The company aims to open dozens of locations in major cities, including Los Angeles, Chicago and Washington, D.C., with stores averaging about 35,000 square feet of retailing space, The Journal said.

Meanwhile, Amazon is planning to give shoppers at its Amazon Go stores the option of buying items with cash. At present, shoppers charge purchases using an app connected to a bank or credit card, a feature that has elicited criticism that the company is discriminating against the ­unbanked.

The Seattle-based company operates just 10 Amazon Go stores today, but Bloomberg News has reported that Amazon is considering opening up to 3,000 cashierless stores by 2021.



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