As we reflect on learnings from the pandemic, perhaps the most important takeaway for Whole Foods Market is that the past year fortified our core values and strengthened our purpose to nourish people and the planet. More than ever, people needed safe and reliable access to high quality groceries, and we’re proud that we were able to quickly adapt and adjust our operations to meet the moment. As a result, we played a vital role in serving our communities, expanded to serve new ones, and continued to grow Whole Foods Market.
Throughout this challenging time, we continued to invest in hiring and supporting our Team Members, expanding our reach, and introducing new customer offerings, and we’ll continue to do so moving forward. Today, we’re pleased to share a closer look at Whole Foods Market’s tremendous growth in recent years and how the company will continue to grow in the future:
- Growing the Business:
- WFM continues to grow across all channels, including delivery, pickup, and in-store.
- Our online sales tripled between March and December 2020 as compared to the same timeframe in 2019.
- Expanding our reach:
- Through our new store openings in 2020, we reached about 1.4 million additional people within a 10-mile radius of our U.S. stores.
- We have nearly 40 new stores in the pipeline.
- Creating Jobs & Growing our Team Members:
- We now have more than 105,000 Team Members.
- In 2020, we created more than 10,000 new jobs.
- We are actively hiring, with about 10,000 open positions currently posted companywide.
- Introducing New Concepts & Elevating the Customer Experience:
- In 2020, WFM introduced and expanded new concepts, including Ideal Market Denver and our first online-only store in Brooklyn, N.Y.
- We introduced more than 950 new local brands in 2020.
- We introduced more than 10,000 new local items in 2020.
- We introduced more than 650 new WFM Exclusive Brands items in 2020.
To sustain this growth, we announced today changes to our corporate Merchandising and Operations, Team Member Services, and Technology teams. These changes will not impact any store or distribution center-based roles. All changes are limited in scope to global and regional office roles. 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.
Evolving the structure and increasing the capabilities of these teams will enable us to enhance the customer experience, better support our stores, Team Members and suppliers, and more effectively support Whole Foods Market’s continued growth. The communication that was sent to our Team Members is below.
For 40 years, Whole Foods Market has pioneered the natural and organic food industry, elevated food consciousness and set the bar for quality. As we look to the rest of 2021 and beyond, we are excited to resume services that were suspended due to the pandemic and continue serving more communities, leading the way in shaping the future of grocery retail and advancing our purpose to nourish people and the planet for many years to come.
Dear Team Members,
Over the past several years, Whole Foods Market has reached several significant growth milestones. We’ve surpassed 500 stores, exceeded more than 105,000 Team Members, and introduced new ways for our customers to shop by launching pickup and delivery. No words can convey how proud we are of our team, and it’s your dedication that made these achievements possible. Visit our newsroom for a closer look at our growth.
To continue meeting the evolving needs of our customers and sustain our growth, we are making changes to a few of our regional and global support teams: Merchandising and Operations, Team Member Services, and Technology. Evolving the structure and increasing the capabilities of these teams will enable us to enhance the customer experience and more effectively support our stores, Team Members, and supplier partners. Ultimately, this will ensure we continue delivering on our purpose to nourish people and the planet.
These changes will not impact any store- or distribution center-based roles. All changes are limited in scope to global and regional office roles. In addition, we are making some changes to our Allegro organization. In the U.K., we will follow the statutory consultation process with Team Members whose roles might be affected by proposed changes specific to the region.
Impacted Team Members in global and regional support roles will receive more information about these changes today; in the spirit of transparency, we want to share this information with all Team Members. Here’s an overview of the changes we will be making to these teams and the benefits they will create:
Merchandising & Operations
We are merging our 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 eCommerce and Store Support. We are also creating new leadership roles focused on local products and supplier relationships.
These changes will:
- Allow regional operations to focus exclusively on running our stores and delivering an exceptional Team Member and customer experience.
- Help us continue to sell the highest quality natural and organic products, including elevating our selection of local products, exclusive and emerging brands, and new innovations.
- Provide Team Members with better-defined roles, new growth opportunities and clear paths for advancement within Operations and Merchandising.
Team Member Services
We will realign our current Team Member Services organization to enable us to provide more consistent, strategic support across all regions in key areas such as recruiting, training, compensation and benefits, and career development.
Additionally, we will fully leverage the capabilities of platforms like Workday, allowing our TMS organization to focus more on supporting the growth of our Team Members and achieving business objectives.
We will transition our Technology organization to focus more on skills required for software engineering and technical product and program manager roles. This shift will allow us to build new internal capabilities, further differentiate our customer offerings, and rapidly develop tools for our business and customers at the speed of retail.
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. 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. We have many reasons to be optimistic about what’s ahead as we emerge from the pandemic. We look forward to welcoming our customers back to our stores, reinvigorating our Prepared Foods operations, having more face-to-face interactions among Team Members, and delivering that exceptional experience that can only be found at Whole Foods Market. Looking to the rest of 2021 and beyond, we are excited to continue serving more communities, leading the way in shaping the future of grocery retail, and advancing our mission to nourish people and the planet for many years to come.