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Report: Amazon scouts for bigger Whole Foods locations

Amazon.com Inc. is looking for larger Whole Foods Market Inc. locations that can house its grocery stores and distribution centers for online orders through Amazon.com, Bloomberg reported March 22, citing "a person briefed on the plans."

The source reportedly told the newswire that in February Whole Foods signed a lease for a 55,000-square-foot property in Long Beach, Calif., which is expected to open in 2019.

According to the report, the grocer is also in talks with Regency Centers Corp. on a plan to convert parking spaces at existing Whole Foods stores into stalls for Amazon delivery contractors to load up orders. Bloomberg said Regency Centers Vice President of Investments John Nahas confirmed the move.

The e-commerce giant, which acquired the grocer in 2017, is reportedly seeking to boost its online shopping business through its investment in brick-and-mortar stores. Amazon started offering Whole Foods grocery delivery in February. On March 15, the company was reported to be hiring staff to manage a pickup service for Whole Foods.

Bloomberg said the latest plan could cut costs for Amazon as it currently has separate warehouses for grocery and nongrocery items.

The newswire said a Whole Foods spokeswoman declined to comment, while Amazon did not respond to requests for comment.