Reports indicate that online retail giant Amazon made an informal attempt which was unsuccessful to acquire Waitrose, a British supermarket chain, in 2017. According to the Sunday Times an unnamed director at John Lewis Partnership was approached by the special projects vice president at Amazon, Ajay Kavan. John Lewis Partnership is the retail group which owns Waitrose. However the chairman of John Lewis, Charlie Mayfield, declined further discussions.
Two years ago Amazon moved into the grocery sector of the United Kingdom by launching Amazon Fresh, an online delivery service. Since then there has been speculation that the online retail giant would make a move for an established supermarket chain in the country. Last year Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods market, an organic food chain, only served to reinforce this view. The acquisition of the organic food chain earned the online retailer 460 outlets nine of which are in the United Kingdom. Whole Foods Market started operating in the United Kingdom in 2004.
The report of Amazon’s informal approach was however denied by the chairman of John Lewis Partnership. Waitrose came under the John Lewis Partnership umbrella in 1937. At the time Waitrose possessed 10 retail outlets but they have now grown to over 350 stores. Waitrose also has shops that are operated at the service stations of Welcome Break.
This comes in the wake of Amazon launching a private-label dog food brand known as Wag. According to Amazon the brand will initially offer dry food products though a wider variety will be introduced over time. At the moment the brand will be available only to members of Amazon Prime.
According to analysts at AllianceBernstein, the introduction of the private-label pet food brand by Amazon will increase price rivalry among retailers. Per AllianceBernstein the pet food market is an attractive one and it is estimated to be worth approximately $32 billion.
“Pet owners are increasingly viewing their pets as a part of the family and are looking for products that are similar to their own eating preferences,” Matthew Grainger, an analyst at Morgan Stanley, wrote last month in a report.
Per Packaged Facts, a market research firm, the market for pet products in general will be worth approximately $95 billion in the United States by 2020.
Some of the firms Amazon’s Wag brand will be competing with includes Hills which is owned by Colgate-Palmolive, Purinam which is owned by Nestle SA and the market leader Pedigree which is owned by Mars.