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05/17/2021

Whole Foods Market Makes Changes to Technology and Merchandising Teams

Jamie Grill-Goodman
Senior Editor
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a store front at day

To sustain its recent growth, Whole Foods Market (WFM) is making changes to its corporate technology, merchandising and operations, and team member services teams.

WFM has surpassed 500 stores, exceeded more than 105,000 team members, and launched pickup and delivery over the past few years. Its online sales tripled between March and December 2020 as compared to the same timeframe in 2019 and it expects to open nearly 40 new stores. In 2020, WFM introduced and expanded new concepts, including its first online-only store in Brooklyn, N.Y. and Ideal Market Denver.

“These changes are designed to improve support for our stores and distribution centers as we remain committed to delivering an exceptional customer experience in stores and online,” the retailer said.

The grocer unveiled it will transition its technology organization to focus more on skills required for software engineering, and technical product and program manager roles. The shift is expected to allow it to build new internal capabilities, further differentiate its customer offerings, and rapidly develop tools for its business and customers.

WFM is also merging its global and regional merchandising teams into a single team that will support purchasing across the entire company. Dedicated operations teams in the regions will focus on merchandising execution and in-store operations, including e-commerce and store support. The supermarket chain is also creating new leadership roles focused on local products and supplier relationships.

By making these changes to the merchandising and operations teams, WFM hopes that regional operations will be able to focus exclusively on running stores and associates will benefit from better-defined roles, new growth opportunities and clear paths for advancement. Additionally, the retailer aims to elevate its selection of local products, exclusive and emerging brands, and new innovations.

WFM will realign its current team member services organization to enable it to provide more consistent, strategic support across all regions in areas such as recruiting, training, compensation and benefits, and career development. It will leverage the capabilities of platforms like Workday so the organization can focus more on supporting associate growth and achieving objectives.

WFM said none of the aforementioned changes will impact any store or distribution center-based roles. All changes are limited in scope to global and regional office roles.

“As shown over the past year, Whole Foods Market’s industry leadership is a result of our ability to remain nimble, be responsive, and continuously innovate,” the grocer’s e-team said in an said in a communication to team members. “As a company rooted in our higher purpose, we are confident these changes will position us to better support our stores and serve our customers as we continue to grow.