Whole Foods Market to consolidate some operations

Amazon-owned Whole Foods said yesterday it will merge global and regional merchandising into one team that will support companywide purchasing.

In technology, Whole Foods said it will shift the organization’s focus more toward software engineering and technical product and program manager roles.

Meanwhile, the Team Member Services organization will be realigned to reinforce support across the chain’s regions in areas such as recruiting, training, compensation and benefits, and career development.

In the memo and an accompanying statement, posted on its corporate website, Whole Foods didn’t announce layoffs or specify the impact to employees in the affected areas.

“To continue meeting the evolving needs of our customers and sustain our growth, we are making changes to a few of our regional and global support teams: merchandising and operations, Team Member Services and technology.

“These changes will not impact any store or distribution center-based roles.

Published reports have said Whole Foods is swapping out the Allegro café space at some locations to accommodate its growing online grocery pickup and delivery operations.

Amazon’s brick-and-mortar sales — driven mainly by Whole Foods’ more than 500 stores — fell 15.5% to $3.92 billion in the first quarter, marking a 2.5% quarterly sequential decrease and following an 8% year-over-year drop in the 2020 fourth quarter.

The retailer said it created more than 10,000 new jobs last year and now aims to fill roughly another 10,000 open positions companywide.

On the brick-and-mortar side, Whole Foods opened 18 stores in 2020 and said it has nearly 40 more new locations in the pipeline.

“Over the past several years, Whole Foods Market has reached several significant growth milestones,” Whole Foods said in the employee letter.

Also in 2020, Whole Foods launched and expanded new concepts, including its first online-only store in Brooklyn, N.Y., in September and the Ideal Market in Denver in October.

We look forward to welcoming our customers back to our stores, reinvigorating our prepared foods operations, having more face-to-face interactions among team members, and delivering that exceptional experience that can only be found at Whole Foods Market.

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