Kroger & Target In Merger Talks

The talks began shortly after Amazon acquired Whole Foods

Mega retailer Target and nationwide grocery store Kroger are in talks over a potential merger, Fast Company reports. According to several people familiar with the matter, the discussions first began last summer—shortly after Amazon announced it would be buying Whole Foods Market.

Since Whole Foods' acquisition, competing grocery stores have had to come up with their own sets of partnerships to keep up with all the benefits Amazon was able to start offering, including reduced pricing and free deliveries. Fast Company also adds that meanwhile, Walmart has also been encroaching on the "grocery wars," offering its own complimentary delivery services and online-ordering options.

The merger would give Kroger, a traditional brick-and-mortar store, the ability to compete in a market that's turned to one-click ordering, while providing Target the potential to expand its somewhat-limited grocery business. Rumors of the merger alone were enough to cause shares of both companies to rise on Friday.

However, a different source tells Reuters that there's "no truth" in the report. And though Target has yet to release an official statement, a spokeswoman for Kroger stated, "We generally don't comment on rumors or speculation."