The Fresh Market is shuttering 15 stores across the U.S., as it faces intense competition from grocers and traditional retailers that have expanded similar offerings at discounted prices. This represents a major cutback for what had been one of the fastest-growing grocery chains in the U.S. a few years ago. After the closings the retailer will operate 161 stores, mostly in the Midwest and Southeast.
Powerhouse retailers such as Kroger and Walmart have stepped into the high-quality produce, meat and prepared foods space and have invested in upgraded delivery capabilities. . Walmart will open a fulfillment center in the Bronx, N.Y., and plans to grow its grocery pickup option from 1,200 stores to more than 2,200 by the end of 2018.
“In many ways, the rest of the grocery industry has caught up to Fresh Market’s focus on prepared foods, and natural and organic offerings,” said Diana Sheehan, VP, Retail and Shopper Insights at Kantar Consulting in a statement. “The chain also lags behind other retailers when it comes to digital marketing.”
Fresh Market will close four stores in Illinois, as well as stores in Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Tennessee, Virginia and Wisconsin within two to four weeks.