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Amherst Whole Foods seems to have avoided national inventory problems

The Whole Foods store in Amherst seems to be avoiding rampant out-of-stock issues that are affecting stores elsewhere in the country.

Shelves at the Sheridan Drive store were stocked to normal levels Thursday morning and employees said the store hasn't experienced any inventory disruptions out of the ordinary for the winter growing season. There were some product holes, but no more than usual, and no more than shoppers might find at other grocery chains in Western New York.

Employees said they have been following the same inventory and ordering processes since they opened in September. Amazon acquired Whole Foods in August.

Earlier this month, Barclays analysts visited Whole Foods stores across the country and found "entirely empty" shelves and high out-of-stocks in every department, as well as food that appeared to be in poor condition. Even hot bar foods had empty slots or looked "stale," customers said.

While customers have blamed the Amazon acquisition for inventory problems, Whole Foods employees are blaming an order-to-shelf inventory management system that was implemented last year, before Amazon took over. The system keeps less inventory on hand in order to lower costs and decrease spoilage, but runs the risk of running out of product.

Winter storms causing unexpected and sudden spikes in demand around the country might also be contributing to inventory issues, analysts said.

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