Six weeks ago, Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) rolled out a cash savings deal for Amazon Prime members at the company’s Whole Foods Markets in Florida. On Wednesday, Amazon is expanding the program to cover all 466 of its U.S. Whole Foods stores.
As part of the nationwide kickoff, Prime customers will get savings on baby back pork ribs, organic cherries and peaches, and all bulk items, among many other offers.
Amazon Vice President Cem Sibay said:
Customer feedback has been overwhelmingly positive–in fact, Prime members have adopted this benefit at one of the fastest rates we’ve seen. Since starting this rollout in mid-May, Prime members have already saved millions of dollars on everything from seasonal favorites to popular products.
President and chief executive officer of Whole Foods, A.C. Gallo, added:
Since launching Prime savings at Whole Foods Market, we’ve seen excitement and momentum from both Prime members and our supplier partners. Our weekly Prime member deals are a hit and we’re excited that Prime members across the U.S. will now be able to take advantage of these savings in our stores.
Amazon continues to add customer benefits to its Prime membership, aiming to boost the number of subscribers and to get them to spend more in the Amazonian universe. Free two-day shipping was the initial Prime offer, and that has been expanded to include two-hour shipping in some locations, a subscription to Amazon’s streaming video service, and even a discount membership offer for customers who are Medicaid recipients.
At the same time, the company has come under fire from the U.S. president, who regularly vents his anger at Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos who is also the owner (by himself) of Trump nemesis The Washington Post.
A recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that states may charge sales taxes on online goods shipped into the state probably won’t have much impact on Amazon. The company began collecting sales taxes last year on all products it sold directly. Its third-party merchants and competitors like Wayfair have not. About half of Amazon’s sales are direct, and the rest are made by third-party sellers.
The court’s ruling does not clarify whether Amazon or its third-party merchants are responsible for collecting state sales taxes. Ironically, Amazon may be able to turn the ruling to its favor by offering to manage third-party sales tax collections and reporting, although the company has not said it is contemplating such a program.
On a down day for the broad equities markets, Amazon stock traded down about 2.6% at $1,670.99 Monday morning, in a 52-week range of $931.75 to $1,763.10. The 12-month consensus price target on the stock is $1,837.65.