Whole Foods Market announced in May that would close six stores in four states as parent company Amazon fine-tunes its physical store base. On May 6th, the company closed five stores in Montgomery and Mobile, Alabama; the DePaul section of Chicago; Tarzana, California; and Brookline, Massachusetts. The sixth location, in the Englewood neighborhood of Chicago, will close later this summer. “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,” said a Whole Foods spokesperson. “We are supporting impacted team members through this transition and expect that all interested, eligible team members will find positions at our other locations.” Earlier this spring Amazon announced it will also close all 24 Amazon Books stores, all 33 Amazon 4-Star outlets and all nine Amazon Pop-Up locations in the U.S. and U.K.
Amazon continually works to perfect its store base with investments in more profitable brick-and-mortar locations. The company opened seven new Whole Foods Market stores so far this year including two new locations in San Francisco: one 50,000-square-foot store in Stonestown Galleria Mall and a 65,000-square-foot city flagship store in Mid-Market neighborhood. It also opened a 21,500-square-foot store in Washington D.C.’s Glover Park neighborhood, a 66,000-square-foot store in the new One Chicago high-rise, and a 60,000-square-foot store in Towson, Md. A new small-format, 9,000-square-foot Whole Foods Market opened in Sherman Oaks, California in March. That store, along with the new D.C. location were the first two Whole Foods Market stores to offer Amazon’s ‘Just Walk Out’ technology. The latest store opened on June 1 at 63 Madison Avenue in Manhattan.
Amazon is also betting on its other two grocery brands, Amazon Go and Amazon Fresh. With eight new Amazon Fresh locations opened in the first quarter, it now has a combined 46 stores between both banners in the U.S. and U.K. New Amazon Fresh locations are scheduled to open in California, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington state, New Jersey, and New York. The company plans to install its Amazon One contactless payment system at its new retail stores. Amazon is outfitting all Whole Foods Market stores in the Austin metro-area with Amazon One contactless payment technology. There are currently 514 U.S. Whole Foods Market stores in 43 states, plus 14 locations in Canada and seven in the United Kingdom.