NEW YORK (AP) — Amazon is cutting jobs in its Fresh Grocery stores as part of a restructuring plan in the U.S.
The company confirmed Thursday that its eliminating "zone lead" roles, a lower-level management position in its grocery stores that, among other things, oversees associates and deals with customer issues.
Amazon did not disclose how many employees would lose their jobs as a result. The Washington Post had reported late Wednesday that hundreds of Fresh employees would be let go.
"Like any retailer, we periodically assess our stores' organizational needs and make decisions to increase efficiencies for our employees and deliver customer value," Amazon spokesperson Jessica Martin said in a prepared statement. "As a result, we've decided to evolve our in-store staffing and operations model to better serve our customers and teams."
The retailer said it will work with affected employees to help them find new roles within the company and employees who leave Amazon will be given severance.
Amazon operates 44 Fresh grocery stores across the country, most of which are located in California, Illinois, Virginia and Washington state. It also operates more than 20 cashier-free convenience stores in the U.S. under the Amazon Go brand and owns Whole Foods, which it purchased in 2017 for $13.7 billion.
As anxieties about the economy rose in the past year, the company has been aiming to rein in costs throughout its operations, including in groceries.
Earlier this year, Amazon said it planned to close some Amazon Fresh and Go stores as part of a periodic assessment of its grocery portfolio. In April, Whole Foods cut several hundred jobs as part of a restructuring plan.
Amazon CEO Andy Jassy has pointed out groceries are a big growth opportunity for the company, but also noted the company needs to find a "mass grocery format" that works.
The job cuts at the grocery chain follow other layoffs at Amazon, which have affected roughly 27,000 employees over the past year.