Whole Foods Market will cut 1,500 jobs from its workforce over the next two months, the grocery chain announced on Monday.
It's been a troubled few months for the Austin, Texas-based company. In June, Whole Foods was found to have been chronically overcharging customers in New York City since at least 2010. At the time, co-CEOs John Mackey and Walter Robb apologized to their customers for the "pricing issues" and said the company would take steps to ensure such problems -- which also arose in California last year -- would not happen again.
Also in June, the chain announced a new effort to get away from its beleaguering "Whole Paycheck" nickname with a line of more moderately priced stores opening in 2016. The new brand, called 365 by Whole Foods Market, will open its first five stores in California, Oregon, Texas and Washington, with plans to double that number within a year.
The newly announced round of layoffs will affect 1.6 percent of the chain's employees. Whole Foods said it expects that many of those who lose their jobs will be able to find others somewhere within the company, as more than 9,000 positions have been added in the past year, and nearly 2,000 are currently open. In a statement, Whole Foods said the layoffs will allow the company to "invest in technology upgrades" and keep its prices in check.
The company did not specify what kinds of positions it will eliminate or what kinds of jobs are currently available there. A request for comment was not immediately answered.
“This is a very difficult decision, and we are committed to treating affected Team Members in a caring and respectful manner," Robb said in a statement. "We have offered them several options including transition pay, a generous severance, or the opportunity to apply for other jobs."
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