Whole Foods turns up the heat in the delivery space

The deals come as Whole Foods stock has dropped more than 45 percent over the past year amid increased competition from other grocers selling more and more natural and organic foods. But the company’s existing relationship with Instacart has been a bright spot, company executives have said.

In his first-quarter earnings report script earlier this month, Whole Foods co-CEO Walter Robb said “many” of its stores are “seeing [Instacart] sales as a percentage of total store in the mid-to-high single digits.” The two companies, which have partnered on deliveries since 2014, work together in 16 cities.

For Instacart, the deals provide the startup with some added stability and credibility after a bumpy December. The startup, whose workers deliver groceries from local stores in as little as an hour, laid off 12 in-house recruiters that month, signaling that its most rapid growth may have passed. Instacart, which has raised $275 million from investors at a valuation of about $2 billion, also raised its minimum delivery and annual subscription fees by 50 percent.

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