Jan 12, 2019

1 business thing: Whole Foods' hermit crab strategy

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.

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Top Trump ally sounds 2020 election alarm over coronavirus response

Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

There is growing concern among top conservative leaders that the Trump administration isn't addressing the long-term economic impact of the coronavirus, several sources tell Axios. One top adviser said if the recovery is bungled it could cost President Trump the election.

What we're hearing: "The next 4-8 weeks is really going to decide whether Trump gets reelected," Stephen Moore, Trump's former nominee for the Federal Reserve board, told Axios. If the administration mishandles its economic recovery efforts, he said, Trump is "in big trouble."

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 1,600,427 — Total deaths: 95,506 — Total recoveries: 354,006Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 465,329 — Total deaths: 16,513 — Total recoveries: 25,410Map.
  3. Public health latest: U.S. has expelled thousands of migrants under a CDC public health orderDr. Anthony Fauci said social distancing could reduce the U.S. death toll to 60,000.
  4. Business latest: The Fed will lend up to $2.3 trillion for businesses, state and city governments — After another 6.6 million jobless claims, here's how to understand the scale of American job decimation.
  5. 2020 latest: Top conservative leaders are concerned the Trump administration isn't addressing the virus' long-term economic impact.
  6. States latest: FEMA has asked governors to decide if they want testing sites to be under state or federal control.
  7. World latest: Lockdowns have led to a decline in murders in some of the world's most violent countries — Boris Johnson is moved out of the ICU but remains in hospital with coronavirus.
  8. In Congress: Senate in stalemate over additional funding for small business relief program.
  9. 1 SNL thing: "Saturday Night Live" will return this weekend in a remotely produced episode.
  10. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredPets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  11. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

Federal court temporarily blocks coronavirus order against some abortions

Gov. Greg Abbott. Photo: Tom Fox-Pool/Getty Images

A federal judge ruled Thursday that clinics in Texas can immediately offer medication abortions — a pregnancy termination method administered by pill — and can also provide the procedure to patients nearing the state's time limits for abortions.

Driving the news: The decision comes after federal appeals court ruled 2-1 on Tuesday in favor of an executive order by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott that prohibits abortions during the coronavirus outbreak.

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