This summer, Whole Foods encountered a new opponent, Target Corp. During the discussion over leasing a prominent retail space in a leading mall in San Francisco. As Target Corp., the largest tenant in that mall, has a say over the alteration to the property, it pulled backed at sharing the mall space with Whole Foods because it did not want to involve into any competition with the new owner of the grocery chain, i.e., Amazon.com Inc. The initial attempts to persuade Target Corp. has been unsuccessful, and now Whole Foods may have to concede several Amazon initiatives, such as, lockers, from where consumers can pick up the goods they have ordered online. The talks regarding this are ongoing, told a person close to the company.
An examination of real estate agreements and the discussions with twenty retail lawyers, landlords, and brokers by Reuters demonstrates that the cords attached to operations in malls, such as City Center, offer an emergent and a little scrutinized challenge to the quest of Amazon to re-build the business of Whole Foods. Across the U.S., large retailers, such as Bed Bath & Beyond Inc., Target, and Best Buy Co. Inc. own legal rights in a number of lease agreements that permit them to limit where Amazon can open new Whole Foods stores and do with the nearby ones. The documents, examined by Reuters, indicate bans on Amazon delivery operations and lockers near a Target store in Florida and Illinois. Lockers for collecting online orders has emerged as a way for Amazon to increase sales through the grocery chain.