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October 03, 2017

Price cuts at Whole Foods could mean real trouble for Trader Joe’s, data shows

Amazon’s internet-breaking purchase of Whole Foods took effect on Aug. 28, and since then, the grocery store giant has been slashing its prices.

With incremental markdowns on items ranging from bananas to chicken to kale, data assessing the store's first month of lower prices paints a potentially bleak picture for similar food outlets like Trader Joe's and Sprouts Farmers Market.

Data analysis group Thasos reported Monday that Whole Foods saw a 17 percent year-over-year increase in customers during the week the price cuts began. 

Many Trader Joe's regulars were likely among those new customers. Thasos said that 10 percent of people who typically frequent TJ's at least twice a week shopped at Whole Foods instead between Aug. 28 and Sept. 3.

Trader Joe’s reportedly generated the most Whole Foods customers from a competing chain, with Sprouts producing the second most, with 8 percent of its regulars heading to Whole Foods.

Three weeks after the change, Trader Joe’s still had a 6 percent customer defection rate.

Even usual customers at Target, Costco and Safeway flocked to Whole Foods that week, Reuters reported. 

Though the stats are certainly concerning for anyone who loves Trader Joe's signature BBQ pizza or chocolate-covered caramels, fingers crossed the store's onslaught of pumpkin-related items will serve as enough collateral to keep the chain pushing on.