In this Feb. 8, 2018, file photo, Amazon Prime Now bags full of groceries are loaded for delivery by a part-time worker outside a Whole Foods store in Cincinnati.
Photo: John Minchillo (AP)

Amazon is reportedly looking to expand Whole Foods stores across the country, including in suburban areas, the Wall Street Journal reported Sunday. News of the rumored expansion comes after Amazon acquired the grocer last year.

The Journal said the move would bolster Amazon‚Äôs two-hour delivery offering, Prime Now, and bring Whole Foods stores to areas where there are currently none. Whole Foods is eyeing spaces that are ‚Äúslightly larger‚ÄĚ than its typical locations, the Journal said, as the grocer is ‚Äúusing extra space in its stores to accommodate Amazon delivery and pickup from online orders.‚ÄĚ Per the report:

Amazon offers Prime Now, a two-hour delivery option to members of its Prime subscription service in more than 60 cities, and online grocery pickup from Whole Foods stores in as little as 30 minutes from nearly 30 cities. Amazon plans to expand those services to nearly all of its roughly 475 Whole Foods stores in the U.S., according to another person familiar with the plans. Amazon also wants to use benefits for Prime members to attract new customers to Whole Foods and draw them back more often.

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Amazon did not immediately return a request for comment about the rumored expansion.

Amazon acquired the supermarket company in 2017 for $13.4 billion, the New York Times reported at the time. The move came after Amazon had struggled to see serious growth in the sale of food on its platform. The Times noted that the sale also ‚Äúrepresent[ed] a major escalation in the company‚Äôs long-running battle with Walmart, the largest grocery retailer in the United States, which has been struggling to play catch-up in internet shopping.‚ÄĚ

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That Amazon would move to expand Whole Foods stores as well as Prime Now sounds about right for a company that is constantly looking to boost its bottom line. Amazon hit a $1 trillion valuation in September, becoming the second company to do so after Apple. But roughly two months later, about $250 billion was shaved off its value amid a tech stock beating, according to Fortune in October.

The Journal’s report follows news this month that Amazon was breaking up with grocery delivery service Instacart, resulting in a significant toll on the latter. TechCrunch reported this month that some of Instacart’s couriers delivered only Whole Foods orders, and the company has already laid off at least 60 people. The partnership will officially end on Feb. 10.

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[Wall Street Journal]