Programmatic Lunch

Amazon allegedly looked to buy Waitrose last year

Tyrone Stewart

WaitroseAmazon reportedly attempted to open talks with John Lewis over the acquisition of its Waitrose supermarket chain toward the backend of 2017.

According to The Sunday Times, Amazon’s VP of special projects Ajay Kavan made contact with a director at John Lewis, pushing for a more formal meeting. However, the talks didn’t proceed any further after the board refused to proceed.

“Waitrose’s generally well-heeled customer base would be a great fit for Amazon. These are the kind of consumers who are willing to spend extra to receive quality groceries at a time that’s most convenient. That means they would be a natural fit into Amazon’s Prime loyalty programme to ensure same-day flexible grocery delivery times: and that’s the real goal for Amazon, as Prime members spend twice as much as non-members with the e-commerce giant,” said David Jinks, head of consumer research and head of PR & publications at ParcelHero.

“A Waitrose-Amazon ‘marriage’ would also mean Amazon could greatly expand the range of its Fresh and Prime Now grocery delivery services – many of which are restricted to a handful of major urban areas - into the many towns there is currently a Waitrose store – and there are over 350 across the UK.’

“In terms of grocery deliveries, Waitrose was a pioneer with its Ocado-based services – but that relationship went rather sour and in recent years Waitrose has slightly lost its way in the grocery delivery revolution. Amazon’s infrastructure could transform the delivery choices Waitrose offers its customers.”

The interest of Amazon in Waitrose’s over 350 shops followed the eCommerce giant’s $13.7bn purchase of Whole Foods Market’s 470 stores in the US, Canada, and the UK.

Amazon is currently battling with Walmart over a majority stake in Indian eCommerce platform Flipkart – with Walmart the overwhelming favourite to get one over on its rival.