Big layoffs imminent at Whole Foods, Walmart, Sam's Club

Deep job cuts are coming very soon to big retail companies. Whole Foods (NASDAQ:WFM) plans to chop 1,500 positions, or 1.6 percent of its total workforce. Sources report that layoffs at Walmart (NYSE:WMT) and Sam's Club may start very soon, and continue through the end of the fiscal quarter on Oct. 31.

The Whole Foods layoffs come at a time when the retailer is cutting prices to compete with Walmart, Costco and Kroger, Bloomberg Business reported. The job cuts will take place in the next eight weeks, and many will come through attrition.

The goal is to decrease expenses so Whole Foods can better compete with mainstream grocers that have entered into the natural and organic foods market. The company's third-quarter profit and sales report was below analysts' estimates. Shares have gone down 38 percent this year so far.

The job cuts are a "very difficult decision" said Whole Foods Co-CEO Walter Robb. The retailer, with 420 locations, will continue to pay the workers through the next eight weeks. Whole Foods is also planning a new store concept, called 365, that is less expensive and more focused on technology. The first 365 store is scheduled for Los Angeles next year.

Meanwhile, layoffs at Walmart and its Sam's Club division are imminent. Five sources told The City Wire that job cuts will start immediately and continue through the end of the financial quarter.

Earlier reports estimated as many as 1,000 layoffs, or 5.5 percent of Walmart and Sam's Club's corporate workforces. Walmart eliminated 50 positions at its headquarters in February, including marketing executives and lower to mid-level management

"There are no cash registers in the home office," Walmart CEO Doug McMillon told analysts in June.

For more:
-See this Bloomberg Business article
-See this The City Wire article

Related stories:
Whole Foods to open first 365 store in LA
Whole Foods unveils '365' format
Whole Foods expands My Street Grocery
Whole Foods to open 40 new stores
Walmart lays off 50 at corporate headquarters

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