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Amazon Will Be A Disruptive Player In Groceries Over Next 5 Years

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Amazon Will Be A Disruptive Player In Groceries Over Next 5 Years

Analysts at Deutsche Bank hosted a panel of four experts to dissect Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN)'s proposed acquisition of Whole Foods Market, Inc. (NASDAQ: WFM). The analyst's main takeaway from the discussion is that Amazon will become a "disruptive player" in groceries over the next five years with implications felt across the entire food sector.

Consumer Packaged Goods

Consumer packed good companies will be the most at-risk sector, Deutsche Bank's Lloyd Walmsley said in a research report. CPG companies lack the vital direct access to customer data that Amazon has and the online giant could decide to "cut-off the flow of this data" to companies.

Doing so would give Amazon a notable advantage in which it can move more quickly in filling product gaps, the analyst continued. Amazon can also use the data to accelerate Whole Foods' private brand sales within the fast-growing natural, organic and healthy space, which has been a key focus for CPGs as of late.

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Last Mile Delivery

The experts expect Amazon to leverage Whole Foods' stores and its logistics expertise to improve last mile delivery economics. The future of Whole Foods could consist of both grocery items and higher margin non-grocery items coupled with store automation to improve store-based economics.

Over the longer term, Amazon is expected to "re-engineer fulfillment" and distribution outside of the store footprint.

Not Much Clarity On Stores

Amazon will be experimenting very early with new designs and ideas on the storefront, including automated checkouts, Alexa devices placed throughout the store to help customers and non-grocery product offerings.

But Amazon's ultimate end-goal would likely be turning stores into "centralized distribution centers for groceries" but "we err on the futuristic side given Bezos thinks big."

Company Commentary

  • Kroger Co (NYSE: KR) may be best positioned to counter Amazon's threat given its own data analytics capabilities.
  • SYSCO Corporation (NYSE: SYY) and US Foods Holding Corp (NYSE: USFD) are likely safe as Amazon won't move into the foodservice distribution space which is very different from serving individual customers.

Related Links:

The Winner In An Amazon-Whole Foods Deal? Blackhawk Network

The Ongoing Saga Between Amazon, Bezos And Trump

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