Amazon is buying high-end grocery chain Whole Foods for $13.7 billion USD.
Founded in 1978, Whole Foods now has 91,000 employees and 431 supermarkets across the world, including 13 locations in Canada — mainly throughout Ontario and British Columbia.
As part of the deal, the companies announced that Whole Foods branding will remain the same and all stores and employees will be retained.
Once the deal gets the required shareholder and regulatory, it is expected to be closed in the second half of 2017.
Amazon has been exploring different business ventures as of late. A prototype grocery store called “Amazon Go” opened last year in Seattle, Washington. In it, customers are able to purchase various food goods using automated systems, meaning cashiers or checkouts aren’t needed. However, it’s the only one released so far, although Amazon has said it plans to open more in the future.
As well, earlier this year, company CEO Jeff Bezos had discussed broader plans to take on more brick-and-mortar initiatives, including other physical Amazon stores in which customers could browse products and place orders.