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High tech 365 by Whole Foods store in Seattle area closing, but company says Amazon not to blame

365 by Whole Foods Market
The check stands at the 365 by Whole Foods Market before it opened in Bellevue, Wash., in September 2016. (Kurt Schlosser / GeekWire)

A little more than a year after it opened, the tech-heavy 365 by Whole Foods Market store in the Bellevue Square mall in Bellevue, Wash.

425 Business spotted a sign saying the store will close Saturday, and Whole Foods confirmed it. The store, which opened last September, was Whole Foods’ third in the 365 concept. The Whole Foods website shows five other 365 locations.

The 365 by Whole Foods concept offers digital price tags, customizable tea through teaBOT, the ability to scan a bottle of wine and learn about pairings, and other technology to make a quick trip to the store even quicker. The stores are meant to appeal to busy shoppers and millennials who want more convenience and lower prices.

When Amazon swooped in to purchase Whole Foods for $13.7 billion earlier this year, it seemed possible that the retail giant’s plan to introduce heavy technology into the stores would make the 365 by Whole Foods locations obsolete. However, a company spokesperson told GeekWire that the Amazon deal was not a factor in the decision to close the store.

“The decision was made by company leadership prior to the Amazon merger after careful evaluation of both store performance and the site challenges that exist for successfully operating a grocery store,” Whole Foods Global PR Director Robin Kelly said in a statement.

Kelly added that the Bellevue store closing doesn’t indicate that Whole Foods is backing away from the 365 concept.

“We remain committed to the 365 format, and will continue to sign new leases and open stores in a variety of markets, including Concord in the San Francisco Bay area (opening Dec. 6) and our first New York City location in Fort Greene (opening in early 2018).”

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