Whole Foods is shrinking its store count for the first time since the recession.
The grocery chain plans to close nine stores in the current quarter, which ends in April, while opening only six new stores, the company said Wednesday.
The closings represent a tiny fraction of Whole Foods' 440 stores in the US, but they signal a new era of potentially stagnant growth for the troubled chain amid growing competition in the organic- and natural-food market.
The company's same-store sales have declined in each of the past six quarters.
The chain saw a 2.4% decline in that metric during its most recent quarter, the company said Wednesday.
Whole Foods is now scrapping its plans to eventually expand to expand to 1,20o stores across the US.
Company executives said they are going to wait and see how recently opened stores perform before making any long-term commitments on future growth.
In the meantime, here are all the stores that will close by April:
- Santa Fe, New Mexico
- Boulder, Colorado
- Colorado Springs, Colorado
- Salt Lake City (Draper)
- Davis, California
- Augusta, Georgia
- Prescott, Arizona
- Encinitas, California
- Chicago (South Evanston)