When China sneezes the world gets a cold. It feels a bit like that with Amazon. Admittedly its £13.7bn acquisition of Whole Foods Market isn’t a drop in the ocean, even for a retailer of Amazon’s size. But why should the share price of Tesco and Sainsbury’s develop such a chill? For Tesco the news had an even bigger impact than Brexit. Yet since Whole Foods came to the UK in 2007 it’s opened nine stores - and racked up losses of £91m. (In the latest accounts (2015/16) it made a measly £1.2m profit.)

amazon prime drone

But that’s the thing about Amazon. It is as fascinating as it is perplexing. As THE online retailer, its recent decision to open its first physical book store (in New York) was front page news. Amazon is also synonymous with developing an awesome supply chain to deliver extraordinary value. And it prides itself on delivering innovation to support its unparalled reputation for customer service with drones and latterly its queueless convenience store trial. And yet it’s just bought 450 big shops, offering super-premium organic groceries, served by a small army of store and counter staff, in brown paper bags.

I’m sure Whole Foods Market can teach Amazon a thing or two about food, not least on the own-label front, where its efforts to date (Happy Belly, Wickedly Prime, Mama Bear) look eccentric and quaint - like something developed for Piggly Wiggly, the first ever supermarket. And with AmazonFresh making slow progress, Whole Foods will buy scale in the US, and a multichannel proposition. But is Amazon really going to adopt an in-store picking model?

I’m not writing this play off, though. You would be a fool to do so. We know Amazon is taking a long-term view, and wants to be as big in food and drink as it is pretty much everywhere else. So if it believes it will require a physical presence, it opens up the possibility of acquisitions here. The logical corollary is for Amazon to acquire Morrisons, where it has established good relations - though you wouldn’t rule out Waitrose either if this premium angle is as significant as it looks. It’s another reminder, with Nisa pursued by Sainsbury’s, and McColl’s tipped that in grocery retail right now, everyone is in play.