The Fresh Market Sees 11% Coronavirus Sales Boost
Pantry loading and trip consolidation led to a big boost in sales for N.C.-based The Fresh Market in the first quarter.
According to a report published in the Wall Street Journal, The Fresh Market, which private-equity firm Apollo Global Management bought in 2016 for $1.36 billion, told investors it expects net sales for the first quarter to range between $435 million and $444 million, up 11% from the same period a year ago. Shoppers are on average filling their baskets with up to 25% more groceries, according to Fresh Market’s report.
“The increase in sales and the larger basket size were driven by unprecedented changes in customer shopping behaviors due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, including one-time stocking up of pantries, increased consumption of food at home, and customers consolidating purchases during less frequent shopping trips,” the company said.
Fresh Market also warned the fallout from the pandemic could depress its future results by disrupting production and delivery to stores, and by making it harder to fully staff locations.
On April 13, The Fresh Market announced that it would require shoppers in its stores to wear face coverings.
"In order to help keep our communities safe, wearing face coverings is a necessary measure in public settings where physical separation is difficult," said James Ball, director of food safety and quality assurance at The Fresh Market. "There is growing evidence that more individuals than previously thought may be carriers of coronavirus but do not show symptoms of the illness. Wearing a face covering may reduce the spread of the virus by asymptomatic individuals. Since it is impossible to know who may be asymptomatic, it is prudent for everyone to wear a covering. The goal is to reduce the virus transmission to keep everyone as safe as possible."
Private grocery chains have had a rough go of it recently, with Fairway Market and Earth Fare both filing for bankruptcy earlier this year. Eight large private equity-backed grocery chains have filed for bankruptcy since 2015, compared with three that weren’t owned by private equity, according to the Journal.