Whole Foods to Cut Hundreds of Corporate Roles

The Amazon-owned grocery chain said it is "simplifying" its operations.

Whole Foods Market store in Cambridge, Mass., July 14, 2021.
Whole Foods Market store in Cambridge, Mass., July 14, 2021.
AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File

NEW YORK (AP) β€” Amazon-owned Whole Foods says it is cutting several hundred jobs as part of a process to simplify the grocery chain's operations.

The company plans to make changes to some regional and global support teams over the next two months, according to a memo sent to employees Thursday by the Whole Foods executive team.

The layoffs will take place as part of that shift and will affect less than 0.5% of the company's total workforce, a Whole Foods spokesperson confirmed.

Under the changes, Whole Foods, which operates across nine regions, will shift to six. Among other things, it will also create a companywide operations team and transition some specific store support services from regions to a single team.

"We often talk about how simplifying our work and improving how we operate is critical as we grow," the company's executive team wrote in the memo. "We've made great progress in these areas through previous operational and organizational changes. As the grocery industry continues to rapidly evolve, and as we β€” like all retailers β€” have navigated challenges like the COVID-19 pandemic and continued economic uncertainty, it has become clear that we need to continue to build on these changes."

Whole Foods said it will not eliminate any store or distribution roles, and the changes won't result in any store closures.

Amazon bought Whole Foods in 2017 for $13.7 billion as part of a wider effort to expand its groceries business. But those effort have been rocky.

In February, the company said it planned to close some Amazon Fresh supermarkets and Go convenience store as part of a periodic assessment of its grocery portfolio. In a letter to shareholders last week, Amazon CEO Andy Jassy said "Whole Foods is on an encouraging path, but to have a larger impact on physical grocery" the company "must find a mass grocery format that we believe is worth expanding broadly.

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