Like the rest of us, Whole Foods ($AMZN) is overwhelmed by the Coronavirus outbreak. So much so, that Amazon has released a press release with some new rules and guidelines. The most striking detail: online customers will be put on a waitlist, and in-store shoppers will have to deal with reduced hours. The demand for groceries is so high that one of the most popular stores in the country, the Whole Foods next to Bryant Park in New York City, is outright closed just to focus on online orders.
Amazon mentions it's hiring hundreds of thousands of new employees, but failed to mention what departments those job openings are for.
As it turns out, hiring for Whole Foods is not what you'd think it is.
The last month of job listings we've tracked has shown a 69% decrease, which means all of those jobs Amazon keeps adding are mostly for other divisions. From what we can tell, there's been a freezing effect taken place on adding new in-store employees. If stores are temporarily closing down, and the only need is for delivery workers, then that would eliminate the need for cashiers, managers, and everyone else involved with day-to-day operations for Whole Foods.
Sympathy is impossible to track using data, but there has been an uptick in likes on Facebook ($FB) for Whole Foods, as many people read about working conditions and stories from people on the front lines of supermarkets. The 'Talking About' count jumped in late March, since people who normally just go to a Whole Foods without thinking about it had to change course and start planning out how they would buy their groceries.
According to multiple reports, several Whole Foods stores had confirmed Coronavirus cases. Here is a map of every Whole Foods around the world, around 500 of them, if you needed some perspective on how this affects all of us.
About the Data:
Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales.