NEW YORK (AP) – Grocery chain Whole Foods is cutting about 1,500 jobs, or 1.6 percent of its workforce, over the next eight weeks as it looks to lower prices and keep up with competition.
Whole Foods Market Inc. said Monday that many of the reductions will come through attrition. It anticipates workers whose jobs are cut will find other jobs from the almost 2,000 open positions across the company or from new jobs that will be created by more than 100 new stores in development.
Whole Foods was recently hurt by bad publicity when New York City officials found it was overcharging customers.
The company has been facing intense competition, with the organic offerings it’s known for becoming more widely available. It’s trying to appeal to a broader audience, with plans to open a new chain of stores with lower prices.
We checked to see if the layoffs will affect the Augusta store. A spokesperson sent us the following statement:
As part of its ongoing commitment to lower prices for its customers and invest in technology upgrades while improving its cost structure, Whole Foods Market will reduce a number of positions over the next eight weeks. The company estimates the net reduction to be approximately 1,500 jobs, which represents 1.6 percent of its workforce. It anticipates many of the reductions to be managed through natural attrition and expects a significant percentage of affected Team Members will find other jobs from the nearly 2,000 open positions across the company or via new jobs created from the more than 100 new stores in development.
Whole Foods Market added over 9,000 new jobs in the past year and created nearly 35,000 over the past five years. ‘This is a very difficult decision, and we are committed to treating affected Team Members in a caring and respectful manner. We have offered them several options including transition pay, a generous severance, or the opportunity to apply for other jobs. In addition, we will pay these Team Members in full over the next eight weeks as they decide which option to choose.’ said Walter Robb, co-CEO of Whole Foods Market. ‘We believe this is an important step to evolve Whole Foods Market in a rapidly changing marketplace.’