Amazon may be opening up new branded grocery stores, but Whole Foods keeps growing, too.

Mike Pomranz
May 26, 2021
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Since being bought out by Amazon in 2017, Whole Foods has dedicated much of its focus to fitting into its new owner's ethos: increasing options like delivery and online ordering. Meanwhile, counterintuitively enough, Amazon has put much of its focus on getting into the brick-and-mortar business, opening new Amazon-branded grocery stores. However, Whole Foods isn't done growing either: The brand recently announced plans to open over 40 new stores —a significant increase on top of the 500-plus they already have.

In an announcement last week on "Positioning Whole Foods Market for Continued Growth," the chain mentioned that it had "nearly 40 new stores in the pipeline," and according to the company website, the number is actually slightly higher than that. Stores listed as in development include nine in California, two in Colorado, one in Connecticut, three in the District of Columbia, five in Florida, two in Illinois, two in Maryland, one in New Hampshire, four in New Jersey, seven in New York, one in Pennsylvania, two in Texas, one in Virginia, and one in Wisconsin. (To do the math, that adds up to 41.) And as Grocery Dive points out, these new stores are on top of other new locations already opened in 2021, including Whole Foods' first location in Wyoming which launched in April.

storefront of Whole Foods
Credit: Robert Alexander / Contributor / Getty Images

All these new stores also mean that Whole Foods will be hiring more employees. The company says they now have over 105,000 team members nationwide, including 10,000 new jobs added last year. And right now, Whole Foods says they "are actively hiring, with about 10,000 open positions currently posted companywide."

"As we look to the rest of 2021 and beyond, we are excited to resume services that were suspended due to the pandemic and continue serving more communities, leading the way in shaping the future of grocery retail and advancing our purpose to nourish people and the planet for many years to come," Whole Foods stated in its announcement.

However, it will be interesting to see how customers will shop in a post-pandemic world and how much foot traffic these new locations will get. One final tidbit Whole Foods mentioned: Between March and December of 2020, Whole Foods online sales tripled compared to the same period the year before.

This story originally appeared on foodandwine.com