Whole Foods, during the release of more disappointing quarterly results, drastically changed the look of its leadership team, naming a new CFO and five independent directors.
Keith Manbeck, a former Kohl’s executive, was named Whole Foods’ new CFO. Ken Hicks, Joe Mansueto, Sharon McCollam, Ron Shaich and Scott Powers are new independent directors. That group’s experience is varied, ranging from Footlocker to Panera Bread.
“We understand that we need to do much more, and faster,” Whole Foods CEO John Mackey said in the earnings call. “Our competitors are not standing still. We need to ensure our company remains a leader in this fast-growing sector.”
The moves came as comparable sales fell by 2.8 percent in the quarter. Transactions fell 3 percent, a result blamed on a drop in foot traffic. Revenue increased 1.1 percent to $3.7 billion.
The company also announced an additional $300 million of cost saving expected to be achieved by fiscal year-end of 2020. Whole Foods began a similar initiative in 2015’s fourth quarter.
According to Mackey, a substantial portion of that savings is expected to come from the tightening of labor scheduling.
“Whole Foods Market is in the early stages of labor scheduling technology, and where we’ve applied it so far, it’s been amazingly successful with getting the right people, the right number of hour scheduled in, say our customer service area,” he said. “As we extend that through the whole company, we can get, we think we can upgrade our service while significantly reducing our cost. So that's going to be one of the major initiatives that we think is going to help reduce our labor cost in our stores, not through laying people off, but just through attrition over time and the appropriate scheduling.”