Grocery store stocks plummet after Amazon-Whole Foods deal

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Contrast the grocery carnage on Wall Street with the extreme optimism around Amazon.

But Whole Foods customers are loyal, and some shoppers are excited about Amazon's purchase. Online juggernaut Amazon announced Friday, June 16, 2017, that it is buying Whole Foods in a deal valued at about $13.7 billion, including debt. Whole Foods' headquarters will still be in Austin. A spokesman for Dunnhumby said it remains committed to its partnership with Whole Foods.

But Instacart is also a competitor to Amazon's growing grocery delivery service, AmazonFresh.

"If we dissect North Americans' spending patterns, we see one third of all spending is on food and convenience merchandise, one third is on cars and vehicle parts, and the other third is on stuff Amazon sells already", says James Smerdon, retail consultant and strategic planner with Colliers International Consulting in Vancouver.

Although this acquisition means Amazon is gaining in power, Professor Michael Carrier of Rutgers Law School said that the deal is not likely to raise antitrust concerns. "Amazon is the master at keeping as much margin as possible".

Online retail giant Amazon is making a bold expansion into physical stores with a $13.7 billion deal to buy Whole Foods, setting the stage for radical retail experiments that could revolutionize how people buy groceries and everything else. One of the possible results of the acquisition: Whole Foods could take a page out of Amazon's book and boost its loyalty program, which now is basically nonexistent, experts said. Whole Foods recently suffered a disappointing stock performance and a change up of its board of directors that included replacing five directors, installing a new chairwoman, and hiring a new chief financial officer, the Times reported.

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Jana Partners did not respond for a Reuters request to comment.

Hrach Simonian, an investor in Instacart and general partner at Canaan Partners, stressed that Instacart has many other partners.

The organic grocer, which was founded in 1978, would continue to operate under its existing brand. That includes major chains like Costco, Supervalu and Wegmens, which was just announced this week. It also charges customers delivery fees.

While that's good news for consumers, it could pose a challenge for Cincinnati-based Kroger as they try to attract new customers. So were Walmart and Target, which made big moves into groceries in recent years and now depend on food for a huge chunk of their sales.

— Supervalu. The grocery store operator lost 54 cents, or 14.4 percent, to $3.22.

-CNNMoney's Julia Horowitz contributed reporting.