Whole Foods Market is eliminating hundreds of positions.
An Amazon-owned specialty grocer is reportedly enacting a round of layoffs.
According to CNBC, Whole Foods Market is laying off “several hundred” employees in the next few months across several global and regional support organizations. A corporate spokesperson confirmed the layoffs and said the number of positions being eliminated represents less than 0.005% of its total workforce.
The job cuts reportedly come as part of a broader corporate reorganization which will see Whole Foods consolidate from nine global operating regions to six. No store closures or layoffs at the store or distribution center levels are expected. Whole Foods has been entering new markets and has about 50 stores in its pipeline.
CNBC quoted an internal Whole Foods corporate memo that provides a rationale for the layoffs.
“We often talk about how simplifying our work and improving how we operate is critical as we grow,” the memo said. “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 — like all retailers — 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. With additional adjustments, we will be able to further simplify our operations, make processes easier, and improve how we support our stores.”
Whole Foods Market has more than 500 stores in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.
Amazon ramps up layoffs
Whole Foods parent Amazon has been intensifying efforts to trim headcount as the e-tail giant faces a softening consumer marketplace. In a March 2023 memo to employees, Amazon CEO Andy Jassy said the company intends to eliminate about 9,000 workers. In the memo. Jassy explained that after hiring more than 450,000 people in the U.S. between the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020 and September 2021, the company needs to reassess its staffing levels.
Affected employees will mostly be in the Amazon Web Services; people, experience and technology (PXT), advertising, and its Twitch streaming platform. At the beginning of 2023, Amazon said it plans to eliminate just over 18,000 roles in 2023, with the majority of cuts in its Amazon Stores and PXT organizations. This latest round of layoffs is happening in addition to the previously announced staff reductions.
In November 2022, Amazon publicly announced it had decided to “consolidate” some teams and programs in the devices and services organization (responsible for product lines such as Amazon Echo and Kindle devices). The company also announced a voluntary reduction offer for some employees in its PXT organization.