Daniele family reacts to Amazon buying Whole Foods

(WHAM photo)

Brighton, N.Y. – It's a $13 billion transaction paid in cash. Retail giant Amazon is buying the upscale grocery chain Whole Foods, a supermarket that local developers plan to bring to the Town of Brighton.

"We're excited,” said Anthony Daniele of the Daniele Family Companies. ”Amazon is a $500 billion company. They're very dynamic and cutting-edge."

Daniele said the acquisition doesn't change the development firm's lease with Whole Foods. Amazon already offers grocery-delivery services in five markets.

Daniele said if the delivery service gains traction, it could help with traffic concerns along that stretch of Monroe Avenue - a source of contention of the Whole Foods project on Monroe Avenue.

“The reality is traffic in not the issue they make it out to be, and we’re confident we’ll get to the finish line,” Daniele said.

Daniele calls the Amazon purchase of the upscale grocery store the perfect mix.

"We anticipate that it will only make Whole Foods a stronger player and a more attractive player to the Rochester market," he said “Obviously, it's too early to speculate how Whole Foods might look different under Amazon, but Amazon is pretty cool, pretty dynamic; so, it's definitely not going to be another grocery store."

The proposed Whole Foods is still in the town environmental review process.

Amazon has lacked a brick-and-mortar presence, which has helped them to become so large.

Buying Whole Foods plugs them into the supermarket business.

Financial analyst George Conboy of Brighton Securities said this move drives up the supermarket competition wars.

"Wegmans’ flagship store is down on Monroe Avenue,” Conboy said. “We have a Trader Joe's right next door. If we have a Whole Foods down the street, you'll see these successful grocers battle it out for the consumer. Generally, when that happens, the consumer wins. We stand poised in Rochester to be the most competitive grocer market in the U.S."

Conboy also said this means Wegmans will have to compete online.

"I think it will help Wegmans remain a formidable competitor to Whole Foods, now linked up to Amazon, but they're going to have to stay on their game,” he said. “I’m convinced they will, and I think you will see marginal players in some markets closing, going out of business, entirely."

The sale of Whole Foods is expected to close later this year.

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