Amazon plans to expand reach of its Whole Foods stores Inc. is planning to build and expand Whole Foods stores across the U.S., people familiar with the plans said, to put more customers within range of the e-commerce giant’s two-hour delivery service.

The push would bring Whole Foods to more suburbs and other areas where the natural grocer is quickly adding customers since the merger. That is a shift from the layoffs and slowing store growth Whole Foods experienced for several years before Amazon
  bought it in 2017 for roughly $13.5 billion.

Amazon and Whole Foods declined to comment on new store construction or spending. In the Rocky Mountain region, one person familiar with the plans said, Whole Foods employees have visited potential retail spaces in parts of Idaho, southern Utah and Wyoming, where the grocer doesn’t have stores now.

Some of those spaces were about 45,000 square feet, slightly larger than the average Whole Foods store. The supermarket chain is using extra space in its stores to accommodate Amazon delivery and pickup from online orders. The build-out would also intensify competition among grocers that are already fighting to retain customers. Supermarkets have been holding down prices and adding new services as consumers shift more of their shopping online. Other retailers are also widening the range of goods they sell, from discount grocers like Aldi and Lidl to pharmacy chains and convenience stores.

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