Whole Foods announced a round of layoffs on Monday, saying it will cull 1,500 mostly back-of-the-house positions across the country.
"The cuts, equal to about 1.6 percent of Whole Foods’ workforce, are unusual for Whole Foods, which grew rapidly for most of its history and prides itself on offering generous pay, stock options and healthcare benefits to employees — including its hourly, in-store workers," wrote The Wall Street Journal
The upscale grocer said that employees subject to the cuts will be paid in full over the next eight weeks. Much of the staff reduction will come through attrition, the company noted.
In many cases, employees will receive "transition pay, a generous severance, or the opportunity to apply for other jobs," co-CEO Walter Robb said in a statement. There are a reported 2,000 open positions across the company, and the company has more than 100 new stores under development.
The cuts come amid Whole Foods' roughly two-year effort to lower prices and escape its "Whole Paycheck" reputation among consumers.
"We believe this is an important step to evolve Whole Foods Market in a rapidly changing marketplace," said Robb.
In May, the company said it would open a chain of newly branded value stores called 365 by Whole Foods.
According to Reuters
, Whole Foods came under investigation earlier this year by New York's Department of Consumer Affairs, which found that the company overcharged customers for some prepackaged foods.
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