Amazon said it is closing six Whole Foods locations, a rare pullback after the parent company reported a disappointing Q1 loss of $3.8 billion that helped send markets tumbling on Friday.
The stores being closed are located in Montgomery and Mobile, AL, Tarzana, CA, Brookline, MA and two in Chicago. Five of the stores will close this week, while one of the Chicago stores will close in the coming months, the company told the Wall Street Journal.
Whole Foods, purchased by Amazon in 2017 for $13.7 billion, has 530 locations in the U.S., Canada and the UK, and is still expanding, with plans to open 50 more stores. The company is introducing its Just Walk Out technology at new concept Whole Foods stores in Seattle and Los Angeles, using biometrics, sensors and cameras to do away with standard checkout.
“As we continue to position Whole Foods Market for long-term success, we regularly evaluate the performance and growth potential of each of our stores, and we have made the difficult decision to close six stores,” a spokesperson told FOX Business. “We are supporting impacted Team Members through this transition and expect that all interested, eligible Team Members will find positions at our other locations.”
Revenue from Amazon’s physical retail, including sales at Whole Foods as well as Fresh and Go stores, was a bright spot in an otherwise dark Q1, increasing 17% to $4.6 billion.
In March, Amazon announced plans to close all 68 of its bookstores, pop-ups and shops selling items like toys and home goods in the United States and the United Kingdom, to concentrate more on its grocery business and a coming department store concept.
On the labor front, Amazon scored a win this week when workers at a second fulfillment center on Staten Island, NY voted against organizing and joining the nascent Amazon Workers Union. The labor loss came despite a rally at the site days before attended by progressive Democratic icons, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders and U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
The outcome of a pro-union vote at the first Staten Island FC is now in question, after a National Labor Relations Board official determined allegedly pro-union actions of the Brooklyn NLRB office merited a transfer to a different jurisdiction for a new hearing, and a possible overturn of the result.