Amazon is planning to shut two of its Whole Foods outlets in the UK just three months after taking over the high-end grocery retailer.
The online giant is proposing to close its shops in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire and Giffnock, East Renfrewshire, following the £10.7bn in August. This leaves just seven other UK stores, all of which are in London.
According to The Telegraph, industry sources said the decision made logistical sense because neither store was covered by Amazon’s online grocery service. Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire are the only areas outside London serviced by Amazon Fresh.
But according to The Daily Mail, Whole Foods claimed the move was not linked to the Amazon merger.
"I think it marks the new age from Amazon where the balance sheet is scrutinised and sacred cows in Gloucester and Scotland aren’t permissible just to 'spread the brand',” Steve Dresser from Grocery Insight told the newspaper.
The Telegraph reported that in the UK the main reason for Amazon’s acquisition of Whole foods was to expand the range of groceries available through its Amazon Fresh and Prime Now services.
In the US, by contrast, where Whole Foods has 440 stores, the takeover has helped Amazon boost its delivery network.
"A decision on the future of the stores will be made after the company has consulted with team members to discuss the proposal," a company spokesperson told The Telegraph.
"In the event that the decision is taken to close the stores, we will work with team members to explore alternative employment opportunities."
Around 150 people are currently employed at the two shops.