Whole Foods Market announced today, September 28, that they will be cutting 1,500 jobs to their stores in North America over the next eight weeks.
That number represents about 1.6 per cent of their total workforce of 90,000 people.
The company said in a release it’s an attempt to “lower prices for [their] customers and invest in technology upgrades” while keeping costs down.
“This is a very difficult decision, and we are committed to treating affected Team Members in a caring and respectful manner, said co-CEO of Whole Foods Market Walter Robb in a statement.
“We believe this is an important step to evolve Whole Foods Market in a rapidly changing marketplace.”
Robb said every employee who is let go will be given one of several options: a “generous” severance, transition pay, or the option to apply for other jobs within the company. They’ll also be paid in full over the next eight weeks as they decide the best route to choose.
Whole Foods Market faces increasing competition from other grocery store retailers, and to keep up, they announced they will be opening a chain of lower-cost stores called “365 by Whole Foods Market.” Currently, “365” is their in-house, lower priced brand that offers everything from peanut butter to cleaning products.
Whole Foods Market currently operates 431 stores throughout North America and the U.K., with 10 in Canada.
The statement released by the company did not make any mention of how many employees, if any, would be affected in Vancouver by the cuts. There are four stores total in Metro Vancouver, with two new ones on the way in North Vancouver and Burnaby.
The company first opened in September of 1980 in Austin, Texas, with a staff of 19.