In another move that reflects a more centralized approach to operations at Whole Foods under the Amazon umbrella, the supermarket retailer confirmed that it has cut staff in its marketing and graphic design departments. This follows recent revelations that more than a dozen executives and managers have left the company since the $13.7 billion acquisition.
Business Insider first reported the cuts after obtaining a recording of a seven-minute conference call on Thursday, March 22, during which Nicole Wescoe, the president of Whole Foods’ northeast region, announced the cuts. At this point there is no information about exactly how many jobs will be eliminated.
“While we continue to grow in many areas, we recently determined a need to better align staffing,” an Amazon spokesperson told CNBC. “This decision was not made lightly and we are working closely with impacted Team Members to help them find new roles within the company.”
Wescoe said the position of store graphic artist and all regional marketing office positions below associate coordinator would be terminated. The terminated employees must continue to work until July 2, 2018 to collect their severance pay.
The cuts are part of an effort to centralize “the creation and production of signage and decisions around signage needs,” Wescoe said.
Centralization has been a key theme of the post-merger landscape for Whole Foods, with the grocer recently bringing its in-store merchandising under the control of one company. Suppliers previously worked with regional offices or even individual Whole Foods locations, but now that the retailer has named SAS Retail Services as its single provider of in-store merchandising services, these relationships will move up to a national level.
While critics already have expressed concerns that the merchandising changes would eliminate a variety of niche brands and products, these same doubts now shift to the company’s creative projects. If regional positions are getting the axe, there’s a good chance many of the signage and promotional materials will be less store-specific going forward.