RETAIL NEWS

Amazon, Whole Foods launch same-day delivery

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Amazon is tapping into its Whole Foods Market acquisition to ramp up same-day delivery.

The online giant has launched free, two-hour delivery of natural and organic products from Whole Foods Market through Prime Now. The service debuted in Austin, Cincinnati, Dallas and Virginia Beach. Amazon said it plans to expand the program nationwide this year.

Whole Foods has a section on Prime Now online, as well as on the Prime Now app, which is available on Android and iOS devices. The service enables customers to shop for fresh produce, high-quality meat and seafood, everyday staples and other locally sourced items. Select alcohol is also available for delivery.

Prime members receive free two-hour delivery. One-hour deliveries are $7.99 on orders of $35 or more. Whole Foods Market deliveries through Prime Now are available daily from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., according to Amazon.

“We’re happy to bring our customers the convenience of free two-hour delivery through Prime Now and access to thousands of natural and organic groceries and locally sourced favorites,” said John Mackey, Whole Foods Market co-founder and CEO. “Together, we have already lowered prices on many items, and this offering makes Prime customers’ lives even easier.”

Amazon acquired Whole Foods for $13.7 billion in September 2017.

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Walgreens’ latest Flu Index looks like a mid-summer heat wave

BY Michael Johnsen

These days the Walgreens Flu Index depicting flu incidence nationwide looks more like a summertime record temperature map with influenza-like incidence burning in Texas red and  emanating from there into the orange of Tennessee and North Carolina.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention next updates its weekly U.S. influenza surveillance report on Friday, Feb. 9, with illness rates for the week ended Feb. 3. If the percentage of doctor visits for influenza-like illnesses crests 7.6%, this year’s flu season will be the strongest on record.

But so far, this is the worst season on record since the H1N1 pandemic of 2009, according to the CDC. The agency this past Friday reported incidence reached as high as 7.1% for the week ended Jan. 27.

The flu is certainly impacting what’s happening in retail pharmacy. IRI on Wednesday unveiled how this year’s season is impacting retail sales of cough, cold and flu items.

For the week ended Feb. 3, the top 10 designated market areas experiencing flu activity were:

  1. Oklahoma City;
  2. El Paso, Texas (Las Cruces, N.M.);
  3. Waco-Temple-Bryan, Texas;
  4. Dallas-Ft. Worth, Texas;
  5. Knoxville, Tenn.;
  6. Chattanooga, Tenn.;
  7. Tyler-Longview (Lufkin & Nacogdoches), Texas;
  8. Tulsa, Okla.;
  9. Austin, Texas; and
  10. Charleston, S.C.

The top 10 markets with flu activity gains were:

  1. Chattanooga, Tenn.;
  2. Knoxville, Tenn.;
  3. Greensboro-High Point-Winston Salem, N.C.;
  4. Greenville-New Bern-Washington, N.C.;
  5. Roanoke-Lynchburg, Va.;
  6. El Paso, Texas (Las Cruces, N.M.);
  7. Salisbury, Md.;
  8. Raleigh-Durham (Fayetteville), N.C.;
  9. Richmond-Petersburg, Va.; and
  10. Charleston, S.C.

The Walgreens Flu Index is a weekly report developed to provide state- and market-specific information regarding flu activity, and ranks those states and markets experiencing the highest incidences of influenza across the country. The Flu Index provides insight by showing which cities or metropolitan areas are experiencing the most incidences of influenza each week based on Index methodology. The data does not measure actual levels or severity of flu activity.

The Index is compiled using weekly retail prescription data for antiviral medications used to treat influenza across Walgreens and Duane Reade locations nationwide, including Walgreens locations in Puerto Rico. The data is analyzed at state and geographic market levels to measure absolute impact and incremental change of antiviral medications on a per store average basis, and does not include markets in which Walgreens has fewer than 10 retail locations.

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Kroger hosts 2nd Natural Foods Innovation Summit

BY Michael Johnsen

On Thursday Kroger hosted its second Natural Foods Innovation Summit, in partnership with 84.51°, in Cincinnati, Ohio, following the success of its inaugural event last October.

“Kroger’s Simple Truth, our brand of natural, organic and free-from products, has achieved $2 billion in annual sales and our organic produce sales have reached $1 billion annually since we hosted our first summit. These are just two examples of our customers’ growing desire for clean products – and our ability to deliver for them,” Jill McIntosh, vice president natural foods at Kroger, said. “Kroger’s Summit is an exciting innovation platform that promotes discussion about natural food trends and provides a stage for emerging brands to get their products in front of our buyers and category managers.”

More than 40 brands participated in the initial Summit (see video above), representing different U.S. regions and categories, including snacks, beverages, yogurts, vitamins and supplements, and protein bars and powders.

“New brands and products are key components of Kroger’s growth strategy,” McIntosh said. “In 2018, Kroger will continue to focus on developing new partnerships at micro and macro levels and sourcing locally and regionally. These are just a few of the ways we are redefining the customer experience as outlined in our Restock Kroger plan.”

James Rouse — naturopathic doctor, award-winning author, media personality and speaker — presented at the event.

Kroger’s next Natural Foods Innovation Summit will take place in June and the company will participate in the Natural Products Expo West event in March, giving brands the opportunity to pitch their products to a panel of Kroger merchandising leaders and influencers.

 

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