Just a year after opening, Whole Foods Market has announced that it closed the chain’s 365 spin-off store in Bellevue, Washington, last Saturday.
Bellevue was the third 365 to open after the flagship Los Angeles store in Silverlake and the second location in Lake Oswego, Oregon, near Portland.
The closure was reportedly already slated to happen before the Whole Foods Market acquisition by Amazon in August, but the closure brings more concern about the future of Whole Foods and the lower-priced 365 by Whole Foods markets.
The 365 stores, which carry a mix similar to traditional Whole Foods Markets, place a larger focus on the chain’s private label brand, also named 365. About 40 percent of the store’s offerings are private label while the rest is made up of national best-selling brands and products.
Whole Foods says the Bellevue closure isn’t indicative of a trend for the stores, although many experts have expressed concern over their long-term viability with Amazon now at the helm. Amazon is expected to continue to lower prices of Whole Foods items, which may make the spinoff stores obsolete -- or the new norm.
The chain says the decision was based solely on Bellevue’s performance and that it is moving forward with plans for 17 more 365 by Whole Foods Markets slated to open in California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Texas and Virginia.
Employees of the Bellevue 365 location were only given a few day’s notice of the closing and the chain says it’s working to find employment for its staff at other nearby Whole Foods Market locations.
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