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Whole Foods Announces Growth Plans, Organizational Changes

Natural and organic retailer plans to open new stores and alter corporate structure
Lynn Petrak, Progressive Grocer
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Whole Foods Market announced plans for expansions and organizational shifts as it maps growth strategies.

Amid the nation’s slow return to normalcy – in a market impacted by pandemic-related shifts and still tinged with uncertainty – Whole Foods Market has shared some of its growth strategies for the future.

In its announcement, Whole Foods reiterated the importance of access to high quality groceries and disclosed some ways that the retailer plans to move ahead across the organization. For example, more than 40 new stores are in the pipeline, following the opening of several locations in 2020. Among those recent locations: a novel Ideal Market concept in Denver and a new online-only store in Brooklyn, New York.

From a personnel perspective, more than 10,000 jobs were added last year and the company currently has about 10,000 open positions. To keep up with growth goals and address market changes, Whole Foods also announced changes to its regional and global support teams, including areas of corporate merchandising and operations, team member services and technology. Among other adjustments, the global and regional merchandising teams will be merged into a single team and the team member services group will be realigned for greater support in key areas such as recruiting and training.

As it expands its footprint and community of employees, Whole Foods is broadening its product portfolio, too, launching 950 new local brands, 10,000 local items and 650 new exclusive brands last year. More are planned for 2021.

“As we look to the rest of 2021 and beyond, we are excited to resume services that were suspended due to the pandemic and continue serving more communities, leading the way in shaping the future of grocery retail and advancing our purpose to nourish people and the planet for many years to come,” a company statement read.

The first national certified-organic grocer, Austin, Texas-based Whole Foods has more than 500 stores in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. The grocer is No. 24 on The PG 100 list, Progressive Grocer’s 2020 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America, while Seattle-based Amazon is No. 2 on PG’s list.

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