The Fresh Market has revealed that it will close 15 underperforming stores across the U.S. as part of a "turnaround plan" whose progress company officials describe as generally encouraging, albeit unevenly distributed.
The 15 store closures come roughly six months after the Greensboro, N.C.-based retailer revealed it was putting the brakes on as many as 12 planned new store openings in an effort to "focus on existing operations."
The retailer said it does not have plans for further closures in the near future.
The decision to shutter the 15 stores was made following the completion of an organizational analysis and "careful consideration of the overall growth strategy and long-term financial performance of the company," The Fresh Market CEO Larry Appel said in a statement.
Appel said the company has been working on a turnaround plan for the past eight months and has seen "great progress," having also recently appointed its own Rich Durante as its new chief merchandising officer to oversee all buying activities and develop strategic purchasing plans. However, due to a "variety of reasons unique to each retail location," Appel said the progress has not been evenly distributed, prompting the retailer to close the "long-term, underperforming stores."
“Looking ahead, I am confident this move will better position The Fresh Market and enable us to continue delivering our great-tasting meals, signature products and an incredible shopping experience," Appel said.
The Fresh Market expanded rapidly as a public company but experienced sales and expansion challenges in the wake of the recession and management upheaval.
The closures will be spread across Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina New Hampshire, Tennessee, Virginia and Wisconsin. Appel said The Fresh Market will work to relocate as many employees as possible to its existing stores.
The Fresh Market stores that are set to close in the coming weeks include:
North Druid Hills, Ga.
Glen Ellyn, Ill.
North Charlotte, N.C.
Fox Point, Wis.