Earlier this week, the nation’s leading organic and natural food focused supermarket chain, Whole Foods Market, said it’s cutting approximately 1,500 jobs.
The chain says the cut is happening in order to help lower the prices on its offerings, some of which are so expensive they’ve earned Whole Foods Market the unflattering nickname “Whole Paycheck.” The cut represents about 1.6 percent of the chain’s workforce.
“We believe this is an important step to evolve Whole Foods Market in a rapidly changing marketplace,” Walter Robb, co-CEO of Whole Foods Market, said in a statement.
“This is a very difficult decision, and we are committed to treating affected Team Members in a caring and respectful manner,” Robb said. “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.”
The chain says that despite the 1,500 job cuts, there are more than 2,000 open positions within the company and new positions that will come as the chain opens more than 100 new stores in the near future.
Aware of its image problem as being too expensive, Whole Foods recently announced plans for a spin-off store called 365 by Whole Foods, named after its house brand of products. The chain says the new store concept will feature lower-priced products including its 365 brand, which the company says is competitively priced.
Earlier this year, an investigation in New York City revealed significant incidents of overcharging on prepared and prepackaged food items sold in Whole Foods Stores. The company addressed the issue, saying it will tighten its training protocol and enlist a third-party auditing system.
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