Austin, TX – Whole Foods Amazon will meet with some of its “most important brands” on March 19 to discuss growing tensions, according to a report from CNBC.
The parties will reportedly discuss Whole Foods’ efforts to centralize its merchandising.
Of concern is the shift from local to national buying, and the new merchandising fee suppliers will have to pay to the chain to ensure the brands’ products receive proper attention, with rotating stock and better display in the store and on the shelf. While Whole Foods buyers were seen roaming the floor and a meeting room was set up at the Anaheim Convention Center, Whole Foods Market did not host its usual Expo West confab.
This is not the first time tensions have erupted between Whole Foods Amazon and its brands. As WholeFoods Magazine has reported, there have been glitches in Whole Foods’ Order-to-Shelf (OTS) inventory management system, instituted well before the Amazon acquistion.
One Natural Grocers store manager in Phoenix told WholeFoods Magazine she left a similar position at Whole Foods Market and then recruited her former colleague because the focus on more part-time staff combined with the OTS demands made the job a nightmare.
During ExpoWest in Anaheim last week, a sales rep for Boulder Brands confirmed vendor service has declined and things have been generally chaotic at Whole Foods Market for more than a year.
And as Amazon has taken a more prominent stake in merchandising at Whole Foods Market, a report from Yahoo Finance said it was pressing for more mainstream products such as Coca-Cola, in clear conflict with the company’s current standards for the type of foods it will carry.
(Note: WholeFoods Magazine is not affiliated with Whole Foods Market.)