Top Media Features Oliver Wyman Comments on Amazon and Whole Foods

June 19, 2017

Paul Beswick, Oliver Wyman partner and Global Head of the firm’s Digital Practice and Chris Baker, Partner, Retail & Consumer Product, North America were quoted in top-tier media about Amazon’s announcement to buy Whole Foods.  Below are links to articles and commentary.

Wall Street Journal,  "Grocery Pioneer Whole Foods to Join Mass-Market Crowd." “Retail is a really easy game when you’re growing,” said Paul Beswick, a partner and global head of Oliver Wyman’s digital practice. “Whole Foods reached the point where there wasn’t a lot of easy growth left.” It was forced to advance its operational capabilities to compete with mainstream rivals, and that wasn’t its expertise, he said.

Wall Street Journal, “For Amazon, Now Comes the Hard Part” Amazon will try to expand the appeal of Whole Foods by using its efficiencies to lower prices, which would bring a fresh wave of pressure to the beleaguered sector, said Chris Baker, a retail and consumer-goods expert at management consulting firm Oliver Wyman.

The Economist, “An Industry Shudders as Amazon Buys Whole Foods for $13.7bn” Running Whole Foods, in turn, will help Amazon better understand and expand its overall grocery business, online and off. Whole Foods has a fantastic cold supply chain, which immediately gives the Amazon Fresh model a big boost, says Paul Beswick of Oliver Wyman, a consultancy.

The Financial TimesWalmart and Amazon in Acquisition Shopping Spree in Retail Battle” Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods “could mark a major turning point for retailers”, says Paul Beswick, a partner at Oliver Wyman. “In one stroke, Amazon has acquired a nationwide cold chain, deep fresh sourcing expertise, a global sourcing network . . . AmazonFresh is no longer something to keep an eye on. It is now every traditional grocer’s biggest strategic threat.”

The Financial Times "Amazon Goes Back to the Future of Groceries" Having experimented with Amazon Fresh, its online grocery service, in cities in the US and elsewhere, Amazon has clearly realised that it needs a physical network as well. It has to expand in order to attain what Chris Baker, a partner of the consultancy Oliver Wyman, calls “a virtuous cycle of volume, turnover and freshness”.