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A Whole Foods Market in Denver. Photo: John Leyba/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Amazon's Whole Foods is considering snapping up square footage belonging to fallen retail giants like Sears and its subsidiary Kmart, Yahoo Finance is reporting.

Why it matters: Amazon, long the king of online retail, has been overflowing into brick-and-mortar at a frenzied pace. Now, it could expand its grocery footprint into several new states, reports Yahoo Finance.

The big picture: More than 300 Sears and Kmart stores have closed in the last three years.

  • Many are in areas Whole Foods hasn't broken into, like Montana, Wyoming, the Dakotas, West Virginia, and Vermont.
  • At an event in Dallas this week, a Whole Foods VP said the company is looking to expand: "If [the best option is] an existing center — second-generation space — that meets all of our criteria … we’ll jump all over it."

Cannibalizing shuttered retailers could help Whole Foods move away from its traditional consumer base: relatively high-spending shoppers in urban areas.

  • Whole Foods' budget stores, called 365, could be an attractive vanguard for the company.

The other side: On Twitter, retail reporter Mitch Nolen cautions that Amazon often makes abortive overtures to down-on-their-luck chains:

Amazon is often said to be interested in the assets of bankrupt retailers, including Toys 'R Us, American Apparel, RadioShack, and now Sears. But it never bids. Whether sincere or not, Amazon is gaining access to a lot of internal data in the process.

Go deeper

USAID chief tests positive for coronavirus

An Air Force cargo jet delivers USAID supplies to Russia earlier this year. Photo: Mikhail Metzel/TASS via Getty Images

The acting administrator of the United States Agency for International Development informed senior staff Wednesday he has tested positive for coronavirus, two sources familiar with the call tell Axios.

Why it matters: John Barsa, who staffers say rarely wears a mask in their office, is the latest in a series of senior administration officials to contract the virus. His positive diagnosis comes amid broader turmoil at the agency following the election.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
3 hours ago - Health

COVID-19 shows a bright future for vaccines

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Promising results from COVID-19 vaccine trials offer hope not just that the pandemic could be ended sooner than expected, but that medicine itself may have a powerful new weapon.

Why it matters: Vaccines are, in the words of one expert, "the single most life-saving innovation ever," but progress had slowed in recent years. New gene-based technology that sped the arrival of the COVID vaccine will boost the overall field, and could even extend to mass killers like cancer.

4 hours ago - Health

Beware a Thanksgiving mirage

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Don't be surprised if COVID metrics plunge over the next few days, only to spike next week.

Why it matters: The COVID Tracking Project warns of a "double-weekend pattern" on Thanksgiving — where the usual weekend backlog of data is tacked on to a holiday.