NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Upscale supermarket chain Whole Foods Market (WFM) announced Monday that it's slashing 1,500 jobs from its organization, or 1.6% of its total, over the next two months. The company cited several reasons for the layoffs: to reduce prices for its customers, invest in technology upgrades, and improve its cost structure.
"We believe this is an important step to evolve Whole Foods Market in a rapidly changing marketplace," Co-CEO Walter Robb said in a statement. Additionally, he said that the job cuts will be managed through natural attrition and that the company will offer its employees severance, transition pay, or help them find other jobs within the company. Specifically, the company expects many of the affected workers to find jobs from among the 2,000 open positions available currently at the company, or through new jobs in more than 100 new stores in development.
"This is a very difficult decision, and we are committed to treating affected Team Members in a caring and respectful manner," Robb added.
All of this comes after the company reported weaker sales in its third-quarter earnings release. The company blamed the shortfall on negative publicity following allegations that it overcharged customers for prepackaged foods. Back in June, the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs investigated 80 types of prepackaged products, including vegetable platters and chicken tenders. The results showed that none of these products had the right weights labeled. In response, Whole Foods executives said that these errors were caused by "inadvertent human error."
Overall, the company has had a rough year with shares tumbling by more than 35%. Based in Austin, Texas, Whole Foods Market operates as a retailer of natural and organic foods. The company's stores offer products ranging from seafood to household products.