78.06k followers • 21 symbols Watchlist by Yahoo Finance
Follow this list to discover and track stocks held by Berkshire Hathaway, the holding company of Warren Buffett.
JPMorgan Chase & Co.
Johnson & Johnson
Verizon Communications Inc.
United Parcel Service, Inc.
Charter Communications, Inc.
The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc.
The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation
The Travelers Companies, Inc.
The Kraft Heinz Company
United Continental Holdings, Inc.
Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Limited
Liberty Latin America Ltd.
Liberty Latin America Ltd.
Amazon and Google employees hit the streets to pressure tech giants to do more to fight climate change.
Sep.20 -- Dan Ives, Wedbush Securities analyst, and Bloomberg Businessweek's Max Chafkin discuss consumer enthusiasm over Apple Inc.'s iPhone 11 hitting stores. They speak with Bloomberg's Taylor Riggs on "Bloomberg Technology."
(Bloomberg) -- Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro heads to New York on Monday in an attempt to defuse the international outcry over the fires raging through the Amazon, while simultaneously asserting the country’s right to develop the rainforest as it sees fit.Until recently, few countries enjoyed such widespread affection as Brazil did, with its tradition of multilateral and “soft power” diplomacy, its unrivaled footballing prowess and vast natural beauty. ButBolsonaro will address the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday amid global indignation over his government’s handling of the deforestation in the Amazon.Brazil’s government believes the international criticism is unfair, but its actions show that it’s worried, including about the potential economic consequences. Fund managers with more than $16 trillion in assets have demanded action on deforestation, while European lawmakers are lining up to attack the trade deal between the European Union and the South American trade bloc that Brazil leads, Mercosur. Austria’s parliament rejected the agreement on Wednesday.In response, the Bolsonaro administration launched a public relations campaign asserting Brazil’s sovereignty over the Amazon and commitment to protecting and sustainably developing the rainforest. Now the president is taking that message to the UN.Read more: Bolsonaro’s Words Are the Sparks as Brazil’s Farmers Burn Amazonia“The United Nations General Assembly could be a great opportunity for Brazil to present and clarify its foreign policy,” said Sergio Amaral, Brazil’s ambassador to Washington D.C. until earlier this year. It’s also a chance to demonstrate its “commitment to sensitive issues for the international community, like the environment.”The question remains of how Bolsonaro can both calm fears over deforestation while asserting Brazil’s right to develop the Amazon. There’s also the added tension of his likely interaction with French President Emmanuel Macron -- whose wife the Brazilian leader insulted.“I am preparing a fairly objective speech,” the president said on his weekly Facebook live broadcast on Thursday night. “No one is going to fight with anyone, you can rest assured.”In the same breath, however, he said that he’d receive a beating in the press, no matter what he said, and that some countries were more interested in buying up the Amazon than saving it.Government ReactionFor the government the international outcry is vastly disproportionate to the amount of environmental damage.“This has been orchestrated by Brazilian groups that are systematically against the government,” Foreign Minister Ernesto Araujo said in an interview on Sept 3. “They want to use any tools at their disposal to attack the government even if this harms the country.”Environment Minister Ricardo Salles argues that the Bolsonaro administration’s development policies highlight how much previous Brazilian governments failed the 20 million people who live in the Amazon region.“This is the first government that engages in a serious discussion about how to develop the Amazon,” he said. “The worst human development indicators in Brazil are in the Amazon.”Araujo, as well as Institutional Security Minister General Augusto Heleno and Eduardo Bolsonaro, the president’s son and nominee to be Brazil’s next ambassador to Washington D.C., are helping the president to draft his speech.While he may seek to minimize reports of environmental destruction, an emollient address is unlikely, particularly given that Bolsonaro retains the support of the U.S. government in his approach to the Amazon. Given the president’s outspoken nature -- and love of social media -- even a softer tone would probably not last long.“Brazil used to communicate this idea of great sociability,” Andreza dos Santos Souza, the director of the Brazilian Studies Program at Oxford University, said. “These intolerant speeches are changing this perception.”Negative ImpactThe outrage over the Amazon fires clearly has the potential to harm Brazil. Ahead of the G-7 Macron threatened to scrap the EU-Mercosur trade deal over what he described as Bolsonaro’s “lies” over his commitment to climate change.The U.S. clothing company VF Corporation, which owns Timberland, Kipling Bags and The North Face, has suspended Brazilian leather purchases, and Norway’s two biggest investors have warned global companies against contributing to environmental damage. Brazilian embassies have also been targeted by protesters.Fitch Solutions Macro Research, formerly BMI Research, issued two reports warning of “increased scrutiny” and “economic risks” after the fires. “We believe that international concern over deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon basin will create headwinds to export demand and investment inflows,” Fitch wrote.Read more: Amazon Fires Another Warning for Brazil Stocks, JPMorgan SaysFor Amaral, Brazil has rapidly lost its hard-won reputation as a leader on environmental issues. Aside from the blow back from certain countries or corporations, individual consumers may start to reject Brazilian products. “This change is terrible for the country, terrible for the image of the country and for the perception of consumers,” he said.Brazil has fallen four places this year in the global ranking of the Country Brand Index, a measure developed by the Sao Paulo-based global branding consultancy FutureBrand, and now ranks 47th out of 75. The survey was completed in July, before the fires in the Amazon, but took into account the first six months of Bolsonaro’s government.“The Amazon is a very sensitive topic, with huge repercussions, and it comes on top of a number of negative issues associated with Brazil in the past few years,” Daniel Alencar, partner-director of FutureBrand, said. But, he added, a country’s brand is constantly in flux. “No single event is going to destroy the image of Brazil.”\--With assistance from Samy Adghirni.To contact the reporters on this story: Simone Iglesias in Brasília at firstname.lastname@example.org;Bruce Douglas in Brasilia Newsroom at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Juan Pablo Spinetto at firstname.lastname@example.org, Matthew BristowFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
American Airlines (AAL) stock has had a rough ride so far this year. The current dip in its share price could be a buying opportunity for investors.
Nike (NKE) is set to report its first-quarter fiscal 2020 financial results after the closing bell on Tuesday, September 24. So let's see what investors should expect from the sportswear powerhouse...
(Bloomberg) -- Apple Inc. gained U.S. approval to avoid tariffs on Chinese imports for the upcoming Mac Pro computer, even though President Donald Trump indicated the company’s waiver requests would be rejected.Ten of Apple’s 15 requests for exclusions from 25% duties have been approved, according to the U.S. Trade Representative’s office. Customs and Border Protection determined it can administer the waiver from the levies when the goods enter the U.S. On Thursday, Apple’s request to win exemptions for the components had moved to an advanced stage in the approval process.Trump had signaled that relief from tariffs would be rejected, saying in a July 26 tweet that “Apple will not be given Tariff waiver, or relief, for Mac Pro parts that are made in China. Make them in the USA, no Tariffs!”But the president later told reporters “we’ll work it out” and that “I think they’re going to announce they’re going to build a plant in Texas.”Bloomberg reported in June that Apple was shifting production of its new Mac Pro to China from a facility in Texas. The Cupertino, California-based company hasn’t suggested there are plans for new factories in the state, though Apple has said it will expand its local headquarters there.Apple’s requests involved goods that are part of $200 billion in Chinese products hit with tariffs last September. Trump increased the duty on that batch to 25% from 10% in May. The rate is due to rise to 30% on Oct. 15, including on another $50 billion of goods also hit last year.Trump ordered duties on about $300 billion of essentially all remaining Chinese imports starting Sept. 1, but he delayed imposition on some consumer products until Dec. 15. Apple has said those duties would affect nearly all of its major products, including iPhones, iPads, MacBooks, Apple Watches, AirPods and the iMac.Apple had so far asked for exclusions on Mac Pro parts and accessories, as well as its Magic Mouse and Magic Trackpad. Requests for tariff relief for the overall exterior enclosure, the Magic Mouse and Magic Trackpad and some key internal components for the Mac Pro have been approved, while requests for wheels and other components are still under a substantive review by the USTR.Exclusion decisions are based on whether a product is available only from China, is strategically important or related to Chinese industrial programs, and whether duties will “cause severe economic harm” to the company or U.S. interests, the USTR has said.In its 15 requests for exclusions posted July 18, Apple said the devices or components are not related to Chinese industrial programs -- and that “there are no other sources for this proprietary, Apple-designed component.”To contact the reporters on this story: Mark Niquette in Columbus at email@example.com;Mark Gurman in San Francisco at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Sara Forden at email@example.com, Andrew Pollack, Mark MilianFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Apple Inc.’s latest iPhone models hit the stores on Friday, in a test of whether better cameras and longer battery life will be enough to lure buyers ahead of a much bigger redesign next year.The new line of hardware, including three new phones and an updated Apple Watch and iPads, was introduced on Sept. 10 and customers were able to place preorders last week to either be delivered or picked up in stores today. Long lines snaked around Apple’s flagship on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan as people waited to get in to the gleaming glass cube and descend to the underground space, which as been under renovation for two years and emerged Friday bigger and brighter. Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook was on site for the opening and stood out on the store’s plaza across from Central Park taking selfies with fans.Sam Sheffer had already picked up his green iPhone 11 Pro in Manhattan’s SoHo store Friday morning, waiting in line for less than five minutes. But he went uptown to see the new store and potentially get a glimpse of Cook.“For me, a die-hard enthusiast, I wouldn’t be able to live knowing there was an iPhone I didn’t have,” Sheffer said.Apple shares declined 1.5% to close at $217.73, valuing the company at almost $984 billion.Apple’s latest iPhone faced some hurdles heading in to its annual revamp. Sales of the iconic smartphone have declined in the past three quarters, as prices crept above $1,000 and people hung on to their current models longer. A lack of revolutionary features on this year’s model could keep some fans holding out until 2020, when significantly faster 5G networks and a revamped design will open up new possibilities with the phone. At the same time, a trade war between the U.S. and China is also starting to take a toll.But some early reports from analysts pointed to encouraging signs for Apple. “Demand looks strong out of the gates for Apple as the lines at its flagship NYC store were up about 70% today compared to what we saw last year,” Dan Ives, an analyst at Wedbush Securities wrote in a note to investors. Having talked to customers in line, Ives said there was “strong demand for the base iPhone 11 as well as the 256GB iPhone 11 Pro in both the space grey and gold colors.” Ives said another positive sign for Cupertino, California-based Apple is that the lines were “unwavering into the afternoon.”Apple set the base model price at $699 for the iPhone 11, down from the iPhone XR’s $749 price last year and below some analysts’ expectations. That might help attract some first-time buyers to its expanding entertainment and services ecosystem.Rosenblatt Securities Inc. said it’s seeing “some new model production increases for September and October for the new iPhone models.” Jun Zhang, an analyst at Rosenblatt, wrote that the firm now sees volume increasing by 3 million to 5 million units more than earlier expectations, to 68 million to 70 million units.It may come as a disappointment to those waiting on line on Fifth Avenue, but if they haven’t preordered their phone, they could face a two-to-three week wait, according to Zhang. That’s a longer wait time than the one-to-two weeks for last year’s iPhone XR, but, “there is a lot of inventory at other retailers,” Zhang said.Longbow Research analyst Shawn Harrison said Apple could be seeing a “potential higher floor in iPhone demand,” and that “initial iPhone search trends are positively surprising.”Lines outside Apple stores around the world were typically shorter or non-existent this year, but tourists and customers thronged the Fifth Avenue location. Daniel Akinsulire found himself stuck deep in line on 58th Street, waiting to pick up phones for his family. “I didn’t know it would be this packed,” he said. “I might be late for work.”(Updates with analyst comment in seventh paragraph.)To contact the reporters on this story: Molly Schuetz in New York at firstname.lastname@example.org;Kiley Roache in New York at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Tom Giles at firstname.lastname@example.org, Robin AjelloFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Tens of thousands of people around the world demonstrated to demand action on climate change as a global movement backed by 16-year-old environmental activist Greta Thunberg got under way Friday.Students skipped school and workers walked off jobs to participate in the rallies. In a central Sydney park, protesters held up homemade signs with slogans such as “You’re Burning our Future” and “There Is No Planet B.” In Berlin, demonstrators gathered by the landmark Brandenburg Gate, just a few steps from where Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government hammered out a 54 billion-euro ($60 billion) climate-protection package.Thousands gathered in New York, Toronto, Johannesburg, Warsaw and many more cities around the globe -- eager to add their voices to a movement fueled by youthful angst about rising temperatures.“This is about the future of our planet,” said Laura Lazzarin, an Italian national living in Berlin who joined demonstrators near the Brandenburg Gate. “We can’t go on like this, and politicians must realize that.”GlobalClimateStrike in London are urging political leaders to take action on the climate crisis CoveringClimateNow pic.twitter.com/2uCxa7jBLp— Bloomberg TicToc (@tictoc) September 20, 2019 Protesters joining the Global Climate Strike movement want governments to treat global warming as an emergency, slash subsidies for fossil fuels, and switch economies to 100% renewable energy as soon as possible. They’re part of a worldwide series of demonstrations that organizers say will take place in 150 countries on Friday and on Sept. 27.“As we deal with devastating climate breakdown and hurtle towards dangerous tipping points, young people are calling on millions of us across the planet to disrupt business as usual by joining the global climate strikes,” according to a statement on the organizers’ website.The movement has taken hold in Europe, where climate has been catapulted to the top of the political agenda. The European Union should walk away from fossil fuels, the bloc’s energy chief told Bloomberg TV this week after a record spike in oil prices. A total of 93% of Europeans see global warming as a serious problem, according to a recent survey by the European Commission.In front of the Brandenburg Gate, three protesters dressed in black stood on top of melting ice blocks with nooses around their necks as hundreds of people gathered around them, carrying home-made placards, blowing whistles and chanting “We are here, we are loud, because you’re stealing our future.”In Paris demonstrators -- a large number of whom were students -- marched from Place de la Nation, carrying placards with slogans like “our house is on fire” and “time to act.”In Poland, home to 33 of the EU’s 50 most polluted cities, more than 60 climate protests were held Friday. At the biggest gathering in Warsaw, more than a thousand demonstrators called for the government to curb its dependence on coal, which is burned to produce more than 80% of the country’s electricity.PrayforAmazon. We should stop buying the beef that's being imported from Brazil to Hong Kong."Climate activists gathered in Hong Kong, demanding world leaders to address global warming ClimateStrike GlobalClimateStrike pic.twitter.com/xfA2Gk0llB— Bloomberg TicToc (@tictoc) September 20, 2019 “The government is doing too little and this needs to be changed,” said Dionizy Debski, a high school student from Warsaw.Click here for TicToc’s ongoing coverage of the global climate protestsThe movement -- inspired by the braided Swedish teenager Thunberg who started weekly school walkouts last year -- has gone global, drawing parallels with other protests like the Civil Rights struggle and anti-apartheid demonstrations.Friday’s protests come ahead of United Nations events, including the first Youth Climate Summit on Saturday and the Climate Action Summit of government, corporate and other leaders on Sept. 23 in New York. Thunberg, who founded the “Fridays for Future” protest group, captured media attention by sailing across the Atlantic to address the youth event, rather than traveling by plane -- doing her bit to cap emissions.The climate campaign has spurred some companies into action. Germany’s Volkswagen AG, the world’s biggest automaker, pledged to make more electric cars and become climate-neutral by 2050.Amazon.com Inc. Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos vowed Thursday to wean his company off fossil fuels by 2030. He also announced the formation of a new organization -- the Climate Pledge -- amid a steady drumbeat of criticism from activists and his own employees over Amazon’s dependence on fossil fuels.GlobalClimateStrike rally.Protesters are urging leaders to address global warming and put an end to the age of fossil fuels CoveringClimateNow pic.twitter.com/jGfAI7Bnse— Bloomberg TicToc (@tictoc) September 20, 2019 Despite that pledge, Amazon employees around the world walked off the job on Friday, in offices from Poland to South Africa and Ireland.In Seattle, hundreds of workers, joined by colleagues from Google and other tech companies, rallied in front of the biospheres at the heart of Amazon’s headquarters.Weston Fribley, an employee and organizer of Amazon Employees for Climate Justice, said Bezos’s pledge was “just the beginning.” The plans, he said, “must be implemented.” He also repeated the group’s call for Amazon to end its sales to fossil fuel companies.On Thursday, Alphabet Inc. Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai made his own announcement, saying Google had agreed to buy 1.6 gigawatts of wind and solar power, describing it as a record purchase of renewable energy by a single company.Google Makes Biggest Clean Energy Purchase Ever by a CompanyIn Australia, the campaign has the backing of high-profile business leaders such as the billionaire co-founder of enterprise software company Atlassian Corp., Mike Cannon-Brookes. Atlassian was among hundreds of Australian employers, including law firm Slater & Gordon Ltd. and real-estate portal Domain Holdings Australia Ltd., that allowed workers to take time off to attend the rallies.The call to action has resonated across Europe, which has suffered from increasing bouts of drought and wildfires, and in Australia -- the world’s driest inhabited continent that derives the bulk of its energy from burning coal.For all the support the campaign is deriving, however, there are pockets of opposition. In Germany, the far-right AfD party slammed the government’s climate measures, citing escalating costs. Merkel’s government is “mercilessly squeezing its citizens for an ideology,” its co-leader Alice Weidel said in a Twitter post.(Updates with Amazon workers protest.)\--With assistance from Maciej Martewicz, Helene Fouquet and Matt Day.To contact the reporters on this story: Bruce Einhorn in Hong Kong at email@example.com;Thuy Ong in Sydney at firstname.lastname@example.org;Stefan Nicola in Berlin at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Chad Thomas at firstname.lastname@example.org, Vidya Root, Eric PfannerFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
We searched for strong tech companies that also pay a dividend, utilizing our Zacks Stock Screener. These three tech stocks should remain attractive to investors even during a potential market downturn...
After surprising traders with a 50 basis point rate cut in August, many traders thought the RBNZ would pass on a September 24 rate cut and trim on November 12 instead. However, this week’s price action indicates that traders aren’t taking any chances with another surprise and have already begun to price in a rate cut for next week.
Some prominent market personalities, such as Leon Cooperman, chair and CEO of Omega Advisors, feel that the Fed's rate cut decision was unnecessary.
Investing.com - Roku shares were hit hard Friday after a Wall Street analyst rated the stock a sell and slapped it with a $60 price target.
(Bloomberg) -- It’s time to stop crediting corporate sustainability efforts as acts of altruism. For big business, protecting the environment often means padding the bottom line.Nike Inc. has come up with a way to weave more efficiently, reducing the raw material and labor time needed to make each shoe. That has kept more than 3.5 million pounds of waste from reaching landfills since 2012. But the good news doesn’t stop with the environmental impact. The company is spending less on transportation, materials and waste disposal.The shoemaker’s “more environmentally conscious product has been a source of cost savings,” said James Duffy, an analyst at Stifel.Those flimsy plastic water bottles sold by Nestle SA? The ultra-thin design has a smaller impact on the environment while pushing down costs associated with packaging and shipping. Amazon.com Inc. and Walmart Inc. have poured tens of millions of dollars into a fund that builds out recycling infrastructure, reducing landfill tipping fees and recovering material that could be sold as new products.Tech giants have spent billions of dollars on solar and wind power, cutting greenhouse-gas emissions and energy expenditures at the same time. Alphabet Inc.’s Google, Amazon and Facebook Inc. are now some of the largest buyers of green power in America.Turns out it’s not just easy being green—it’s also profitable.“We’ve moved past this concept that business versus the environment is a tradeoff,” said Tom Murray, who advises companies on reducing emissions at Environmental Defense Fund, including Walmart, McDonald’s Corp. and Procter & Gamble Co. “The business benefits were always there, but more and more companies are going after them.”The business case for going green has never been stronger as companies find ways to make more from less. Here’s a look at the ways corporate sustainability is making environmentalism pay.Lightweight Flights Cost LessUnited Airlines Holdings Inc. has been making its planes lighter, driving down fuel use and costs. Airlines account for almost 2% global carbon emissions. Not even the in-flight magazine has been spared in the search for unnecessary heft: changing to a lighter paper stock saved almost $300,000 per year on fuel. United redesigned airplane bathrooms, switched out beverage carts and ended duty-free sales. The company was also working on reducing its cabin waste to zero. What it pays: United has saved more than $2 billion on fuel so far.Hanging Hotel Towels Saves More Than Water It turns out that simply asking guests to hang up towels to dry and forego daily sheet changes can save hotel operators 25% off annual energy costs. “To some surprise within the hotel industry, this option was quickly embraced by hotel guests as a small way to engage in energy conservation,” according to a report by the Urban Land Institute. Clarion Partners LLC does that at all of its hotels and went a step further by reducing flows through toilets, faucets and showerheads.What it pays: Cutting water use saves Clarion hotels about $17,250 per year.Idle Trucks, Real MoneyWalmart runs one of the biggest trucking fleets in the U.S. That means scores of semis standing in traffic at any given time. At that scale, the introduction of technology that reduces energy use when trucks or idling and software that creates more efficient routes can improve fuel efficiency by 90%, reducing carbon dioxide emissions.What it pays: Diesel averages almost $3 a gallon in the U.S. Tech’s Green Power PayoffGoogle, Facebook and Amazon are among the largest energy consumers in the U.S., and a lot of that power is now emission-free. Each company committed to getting 100% of their power for their data centers from renewable resources such as wind and solar. Exxon Mobil signed up to energize its operations in Texas with solar and wind energy starting next year, which would place the oil producer among the top 10 buyers.What it pays: With renewables now cheaper than fossil fuels, these green energy commitments shave an estimated 10% off tech giants’ gargantuan utility bills.Paperless Bathrooms Are CheaperRestaurants, movie theaters and others have been making the switch from paper towels to hand dryers in their restrooms for years. Dryers have become the norm because of the savings on the cost of paper towels and the expense of sending garbage to the landfill. Soldier Field, home of the Chicago Bears, made the switch and cut carbon emissions by 76% per use.What it pays: A football stadium can save more than $12,000 a year over the cost of paper towels. Re-Sold Clothes Are a MoneymakerPatagonia Inc. has been repairing and recycling clothes since its inception in the 1970s, making the practice a core part of the brand’s environmental image. Two years ago, however, the company added incentives for customers who return used items. This wasn’t just an act of urgency to keep clothing out of landfills. A 3-in-1 Snowshot Jacket that retails new for about $400 was recently listed on Patagonia’s Wornwear website for $187 to $207, more than twice the amount paid to customers in a voucher.What it pays: Each re-sale of a high-quality used jacket can net $100. “It’s a profitable business unit,” said Phil Graves, director of corporate development at Patagonia.Slender Plastic SavingsNestle has been saving money with ever-thinner plastic bottles, cutting the content in its half-liters by more than 60% since 1990. That also reduces the harmful chemicals and emissions produced from making plastic and saves on transportation costs. There’s also been a push to use more recycled material. Nestle recently started offering a 100% recycled bottle for its Pure Life water brand. Coca-Cola Inc. has decided to ditch plastic altogether for its Dasani line by pumping water into aluminum cans. That switch will make it easier to recycle and boost profitability. The cans weigh less, which cuts transportation costs. What it pays: 72 cents per pound of plastic resin.Beer With Less Spent on WaterLagunitas Brewing Co. was growing so quickly that its local water utility couldn’t process all the highly concentrated wastewater produced by its manufacturing process. Managing it all might have required costly upgrades to the municipal system. The brewer instead bought a new type of treatment system onsite that cleans the 7 gallons of high-strength wastewater made with every gallon of beer. The methane byproduct is used to produce electricity. Its one of the many breweries and vineyards out there that have now installed these systems.What it pays: Estimated savings more than $1 million a year on utility bills.This story is part of Covering Climate Now, a global collaboration of more than 250 news outlets to highlight climate change.(Adds zero-waste effort in ninth paragraph)To contact the authors of this story: Chris Martin in New York at email@example.comMillicent Dent in New York at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Aaron Rutkoff at email@example.com, Lynn DoanFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Ever since Amazon.com Inc. bought Whole Foods in 2017 for $13.7 billion, shoppers and investors alike have wondered how the e-commerce giant would integrate the upscale grocer into its sprawling online operation. Now, after two years of tinkering, Amazon is betting big on quick delivery from Whole Foods.In August, the company began a pilot project in select cities including Denver and Portland, Oregon. Mining the purchase histories of Whole Foods shoppers who use their Prime memberships for discounts, Amazon zeroed in on items they buy routinely in physical stores. Then, the company began suggesting the same products on its main website with an enticement: free two-hour delivery. Previously, Prime subscribers looking for speedy grocery delivery needed to download a separate Prime Now app, which limited use of the service. Amazon is betting that offering the service on the main site will pull in more shoppers. The Prime Now app had only 1.8 million monthly average users in August, according to monitoring firm App Annie. Amazon’s website draws more than 200 million unique monthly visitors while its primary shopping app attracts 125 million users on average each month.As it has done before, Amazon wants to change shopping habits—in this case getting consumers more comfortable buying perishable products like bananas and yogurt online. That’s crucial if Amazon is to take on Walmart Inc. in the $840 billion U.S. grocery market.Encouraged by what it calls “very positive” customer feedback, the company has quickly extended the service to almost 30 cities, including Los Angeles, Houston and Detroit. “Most grocery customers buy the same things over and over again,” an Amazon spokeswoman said in an e-mail after Bloomberg asked about the program. “The past purchases feature enables customers to quickly add favorite products to their cart.”The industry is grappling with how best to mesh physical and online grocery stores, a topic that drew 3,000 executives to the GroceryShop conference in Las Vegas in mid-September for panels on delivery, the future of stores and consumer behavior.Despite trying upend the grocery market for more than a decade, Amazon remains a tiny player. Walmart and its Sam’s Club capture 25% of all grocery spending in the U.S., according to Morgan Stanley, compared with 2% for Amazon and Whole Foods. Walmart has more than 4,500 U.S. stores, about 10 times the number of Whole Foods locations.Meanwhile, competition is intensifying. Walmart and Target Corp. are both investing in delivery options as well as in-store pickup of online orders, all geared toward time-strapped customers looking to simplify their errands. Walmart this month announced it was expanding its $98 annual grocery delivery service to 1,400 cities, undercutting Amazon Prime's $119 annual fee.Persuading shoppers to buy fresh food online isn’t Amazon’s sole challenge. Getting groceries to customers quickly is another. Offering two-hour delivery requires Amazon to show shoppers only products that are close to them, which isn’t easy because the 25-year-old website was designed to let anyone with an internet connection buy a product anywhere in the world. For that reason, Amazon launched its two-hour delivery service Prime Now in 2015 as a separate app detached from the main website, according to a personal familiar with the matter. That enabled Amazon to get the service up and running more quickly but limited participation because users had to download a new app. Moreover, Prime Now has offered a narrow selection of convenience store-style staples. The expanded service could help solve those challenges. Shoppers in cities where the option is available see a Whole Foods storefront on Amazon’s website. The storefront offers visitors discounts to entice them to try fast delivery of perishables and shows them previous purchases they made in stores. An optional filter lets them limit their search to what’s on the shelf in nearby Whole Foods locations in case they’d rather pick up the order themselves. “Amazon has been critiqued for not making full use of the Whole Foods acquisition, and this is about to change that,” says Juozas Kaziukenas, founder of New York e-commerce research firm Marketplace Pulse. “Having local stores act as two-hour delivery hubs is exactly why Amazon acquired the company.”(Updates with Prime Now app data. )\--With assistance from Matthew Boyle.To contact the author of this story: Spencer Soper in Seattle at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Robin Ajello at email@example.com, Andrew PollackFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.