John Lewis chairman Sir Charlie Mayfield denied a formal approach had been made
Waitrose bosses rebuffed an attempt by Amazon to enter takeover talks, it has emerged.
The internet giant reportedly tried to open talks with the John Lewis Partnership, which owns the supermarket chain, but the approach by Amazon executive Ajay Kavan was ‘shut down’ by the John Lewis board last November, The Sunday Times reported.
Analysts had expected Amazon to launch an assault on Britain’s supermarkets after it bought upmarket health food chain Whole Foods, which has seven stores in Britain, for £10billion last year.
But John Lewis chairman Sir Charlie Mayfield, pictured, denied a formal approach had been made, adding: ‘These times are ripe for speculation, but there has been no approach by Amazon regarding Waitrose and nor would I expect there to be.’
It comes at a time of upheaval in the grocery sector after Sainsbury’s and Asda revealed plans for a £14billion merger, creating a supermarket bigger than Tesco with sales of £51billion.
Analysts say the move was made partly to counter the threat from Amazon.
The broker Jefferies said the deal could spark opportunities for the UK’s fourth biggest supermarket, Morrisons, if Sainsbury’s and Asda have to offload a host of stores to clear competition hurdles, adding that ‘this may lead to a number of store purchases at bargain prices’.
Morrisons’ first-quarter update is expected to confirm its tenth quarter in a row of rising sales.
It is holding its market share at 10.5 per cent, Kantar Worldpanel says, while Tesco remains at 27.6 per cent and Sainsbury’s and Asda fell, to 15.9 per cent and 15.5 per cent respectively.