Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Upscale Shopping is taking a Hit

If it wasn't for my desire for organic and local produce and the variety I would probably not shop at Whole Foods just because it is expensive and I have trouble not impulse buying when I am there. Looks like the economy is making others think twice about the extra cost of shopping there as well.
Blaming a tough economy, Whole Foods executives sent an ominous letter to all employees in its Pacific Northwest stores last month that warns of potential layoffs, announces a hiring freeze, and says new stores are on hold.

“Many teams are clearly overstaffed for their current sales and are at the point where labor needs to be reduced…” the memo says. It adds that as “sales soften,” the company has accumulated $59,000 in labor deficits. “Team sales and labor will be reviewed in January and tough decisions may be made if we are unable to achieve sales to labor balance by that time.” The memo says no layoffs will occur until January.

According to several sources, the largest local Whole Foods store at 56,000 square feet, located in Bellevue, has been lacking for sufficient business. Meanwhile, as Jonah reported, the company delayed plans for a store in Interbay and announced plans to downsize it.

In fact, the Texas-based chain plans to only build smaller stores from now on.
I really like Whole Foods and there are a lot of things you can only find there. If you are really careful and buy the 365 house brands it is really not too, too expensive. I get in trouble in the imported foods and cheese shop and it is, by far, the best fish source in the area. Now that I am a little(OK a lot) more focused on money I won't be shopping there very often.

h/t Americablog

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