Amazon has announced the closure of six Whole Foods Market locations across four states, nearly two months after closing dozens of bookstores and gift shops across the country.
The closures will be in Montgomery and Mobile, Alabama; Tarzana, California; Brookline, Massachusetts; and the Englewood and DePaul neighborhood of Chicago, Amazon said.
“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,” a Whole Foods spokeswoman said in an email.
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We are assisting impacted Team Members during this transition and anticipate that all interested, qualified Team Members will find positions at our other locations.
Amazon said it had excess warehouse space and employees when explaining an unexpected first-quarter loss and a bleak outlook for the current period.
Online sales dropped 3 percent in the quarter. The shares declined 14 percent on Friday, the biggest one-day drop since July 2006.
Revenue from physical stores, which are mostly Whole Foods, was one of the few bright spots from Amazon’s quarterly results, with sales of $4.59 billion, up 17 percent from a year earlier.
Amazon announced in March that it would close its physical bookstores, “Amazon 4-Star” locations, and mall pop-up kiosks in order to focus its brick-and-mortar efforts on the grocery sector.
The Seattle-based company made its biggest move into physical retail in 2017 with the $13 billion acquisition of Whole Foods Market.
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Since then, the company has also launched its own Amazon Fresh supermarkets and now has more than 20 locations in California, Illinois and the mid-Atlantic region.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Friday said the decision to close the two stores in her city was “disappointing.”
She expressed concern for the workers as well as the harm to some residents in communities who risk having few other choices for their grocery shopping. The mayor also said new uses will need to be found so the locations don’t remain empty.
“Together with both communities and local elected leaders, my administration will work to repurpose these locations in a way that continues to serve the community and support the surrounding businesses,” Lightfoot said in a statement. “We as a city will continue to work hard to close food deserts that meet community needs with the community at the table.”
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