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Wal-Mart to launch higher-end grocery line; separately, Whole Foods is hacked

Wal-Mart Stores Inc.'s Jet.com will launch a higher-end grocery line targeting millennials, just over a year after Wal-Mart spent more than $3 billion for the fast-growing online retailer amid more intense competition from Amazon.com Inc.

Last month, Amazon closed on its acquisition of Whole Foods, intensifying the competition among Wal-Mart, Target Corp. and other supermarkets as all of them fight to win a bigger slice of the grocery market.

Jet.com said Friday that the new brand, called Uniquely J, will focus on younger customers in urban areas, offering them select coffee, olive oil, paper towels and other products.

Jet.com — which sells clothing, gadgets and home furnishings, among other items — will also carry some of the niche brands Wal-Mart acquired in recent months, such as ModCloth and Bonobos. ModCloth is starting to be carried on Jet now, while Bonobos will be sometime next year, according to Wal-Mart officials.

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Amazon cut prices almost immediately on a number of items at Whole Foods after it closed on the deal. Wal-Mart has also lowered grocery prices over the last month.

Separately on Friday, Whole Foods said the credit and debit card information of customers who bought meals or drinks at its in-store restaurants or bars was exposed to hackers.

The grocer said the data breach did not affect its main checkout registers or any Amazon.com shoppers.

Whole Foods did not say which of its 470 stores were affected, and a spokeswoman declined to answer any questions.

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The Whole Foods stores that have in-store restaurants and bars tend to be in or near cities.

Whole Foods says it is investigating the hack.


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