Amazon considered an acquisition of Waitrose last year, but was blocked from entering formal talks, reports suggest.
A senior executive at the online shopping giant’s UK arm pushed for a meeting with the John Lewis Partnership but was “shut down” by the board, the Sunday Times reported today.
The tech company’s acquisition of Whole Foods last year marked an aggressive move into the grocery space. It is thought that the growing dominance of Amazon as well as Tesco's £3.7bn acquisition of Booker Group will prompt another shakeup of the UK's supermarkets, starting with the proposed combination of Sainsbury's and Asda.
Earlier this week, analysts said that the role of Amazon had played a part in Walmart’s decision to combine its Asda business with Sainsbury’s.
“Established retailers like Sainsbury’s, Asda and Tesco are being forced to take decisive action to compete against the combined, and growing, threat of Amazon and the new wave of discount-led stores like Lidl and Aldi,” said Simon Cope-Thompson, a partner at Livingstone.
Amazon’s grocery delivery service Amazon Fresh has also given it the opportunity to partner with established players such as Morrisons, with which it has been working for over two years.
Meanwhile, the latest grocery market share figures showed that Waitrose lost share despite increasing sales. It even lost its top spot in a customer survey of favourite supermarkets earlier this year, overtaken by discounter Aldi.