Why Whole Foods is raising prices
Whole Foods Market is raising prices on hundreds of items, less than two years after e-commerce giant Amazon acquired the organic grocery chain for $13.7 billion and immediately cut prices on stable food items.
The price increases apply to an array of items ranging from ice cream to organic soap, according to company emails reviewed by the Wall Street Journal. Whole Foods identified roughly 550 items that would cost more in December and “dozens” more in January.
The affected items will cost anywhere from 10 cents to dollars more, with an average increase of 66 cents, according to the report. Whole Foods said the decision to raise prices was made to offset the higher costs of labor and other business expenses.
“Like all grocers, Whole Foods Market has experienced increased costs from suppliers due to materials, labor and transportation, and we’ve absorbed much of the inflation,” Whole Foods said in a statement. “Many prices have also decreased, and we continue to expand the number of promotions we offer to give our customers better value. We remain committed to continuing to lower prices with Amazon as we deliver on our mission to make high-quality, natural and organic food more affordable and accessible.”
The January price increases occurred alongside the expiration of contracts for some 700 products that Whole Foods had sold at lower prices. A company representative told the Journal that Whole Foods stopped selling roughly half of the 700 products entirely, while reaching new agreements to sell 100 others and increasing prices for about 50.
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Whole Foods cut prices for staple items such as bananas and avocados after Amazon acquired the company in 2017. Amazon has offered further discounts and promotions for its paid “Prime” subscribers.