Whole Foods cuts local marketing staff
Amazon.com, if nothing else, is about change, and there has been plenty of that — with more surely to come — at Whole Foods since the organic grocery chain was acquired by the e-tailing giant. The latest is that Whole Foods is eliminating all store graphic artist positions as well many other jobs in the chain’s regional marketing organizations.
The news, which was first reported by Business Insider, is part of Whole Foods’ efforts to centralize its operations. The shift away from local decision making has been a source of consternation among many of the chain’s vendors, particularly smaller ones, who fear they may be cut out as Whole Foods makes decisions based on how much suppliers are willing to spend for shelf space, displays and promotions.
Whole Foods recently held a meeting with roughly 200 suppliers to clarify how the chain plans to run its business under Amazon’s ownership.
“The changes we’ve been making across the company directly address the feedback our supplier partners have shared over the years about the challenges of our decentralized purchasing structure and inconsistent practices across regions and stores,” said Robin Rehfield Kelly, a spokesperson for Whole Foods, in a statement.
While Whole Foods is cutting staff to align with its new centralized structure, a recent Wall Street Journal article reported that more than a dozen executives and senior managers working in areas including bakery, produce, local foods and sustainability have left the company as well. Some veterans of the company chose to leave even after being asked by senior management to stay.
While Whole Foods CEO and co-founder John Mackey has maintained that the culture at the chain has not changed under Amazon, there are others who see it differently.
“Culturally it’s been a rough start,” a former employee who worked in procurement for Whole Foods for nearly 10 years told the Journal.
- Your ‘role will be removed’: Whole Foods fires workers in 7-minute leaked conference call – Business Insider
- Whole Foods calls supplier summit amid Amazon angst – Reuters/Yahoo Finance
- Whole Foods Is Losing Executives Under New Owner Amazon – The Wall Street Journal
- Does Whole Foods have a backroom problem? – RetailWire
- Whole Foods asks vendors to pay to play – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you expect the changes that Whole Foods is making under Amazon to eventually benefit the company or is management straying too far from its cultural and business operation roots? What do you see as the positives that Amazon has brought to Whole Foods? What are the negatives?