• Amazon-owned Whole Foods is halting growth of its smaller, cheaper chain of stores called 365 by Whole Foods Market.
  • In an internal email, Whole Foods CEO John Mackey cited a diminishing price gap between the newer chain and Whole Foods’ traditional stores as the reason for the change.
  • All 12 of the 365 stores that the company has already built will remain open, Mackey said in the email, which was reviewed by Business Insider.

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Amazon-owned Whole Foods is reportedly scrapping the chain of stores it launched in 2016 that was meant to be smaller and cheaper than its traditional grocery stores.

The company is halting expansion of the chain, called 365 by Whole Foods Market, less than three years after opening the first of 12 locations, according to an internal email reviewed by Business Insider.

The email, first reported by Yahoo Finance, cited a diminishing price gap between the two Whole Foods chains as the reason for the change.

“As we have been consistently lowering prices in our core Whole Foods Market stores over the past year, the price distinction between the two brands has become less relevant,” Whole Foods CEO John Mackey wrote in the email on Wednesday. “As the company continues to focus on lowering prices over time, we believe that the price gap will further diminish.”

The 365 stores are smaller, pared-down versions of regular Whole Foods stores, with a no-frills design and a focus on prepared foods. They are cheaper…