The Fresh Market said Wednesday it has adopted a new position statement to drive growth going forward — inspiring consumers “to make everyday eating extraordinary.”
To deliver on its positioning, the 151-store chain, based in Greensboro, N.C., is beginning to develop initiatives to tell its story more overtly to consumers, building more customer-centric assortments and increasing in-store service, as well as getting employees involved in working to achieve the company’s goals, Chris Miller, VP, strategy and marketing, told investors in an analysts’ day presentation.
“We want to inspire people with food that enables them to achieve their goals in shopping with us and provide knowledgeable service; to offer food that is healthy as well as indulgent on an everyday basis; to enhance eating with delicious, high-quality, differentiated foods; and to be extraordinary by being a special place to shop and providing an environment that serves as a respite from the daily hustle,” he explained.
One of the company’s goal is to add at least one more trip per month from customers who rely on conventional grocers as their primary supermarket — a change Miller said could boost annual comparable transaction growth by 13%, with an increase in frequency leading to more spending per trip.
The Fresh Market also hopes to separate itself from other specialty retailers through differentiation, “to become the customers’ first-choice specialty grocer,” Miller said.
Craig Carlock, president and CEO, echoed Miller’s comments that the company hopes to acquire trip share from conventional grocers and sharpen its own identity as a first-choice retailer for “special.”
‘We’re confident in our ability to grow the store base in both new and core markets,” Carlock said.
“With sales continuing to be solid, we can strike better terms on new sites with lower occupancy cost. We also see extensive growth opportunities to double our base in our core Southeast markets because there’s less cannibalization than we expected and also because we do well in smaller markets.”
According to Miller, the goals The Fresh Market has set were gleaned from interviews with approximately 3,500 consumers by an outside research firm. Of those surveyed, one–third were regular Fresh Market customers, with the balance occasional or non-customers, Miller noted.
He said the research indicated many consumers feel shopping at The Fresh Market is already “special” but shop there infrequently — often only for special occasions.
“But we believe we resonate with aspirational consumers wanting more special experiences who are looking for inspiration and solutions, and we believe The Fresh Market has ample opportunity to deepen customer engagement,” Miller said.
“We are not targeting customers who think an apple is just an apple, nor are we targeting customers who make decisions based on price alone. We want customers who see value as a combination of quality and price — aspirational shoppers who will pay more for the kind of fresh food that elevates the eating experience.”
With most consumers shopping at five different channels per month, including at least two retailers per trip, “the concept on one-stop shopping is becoming increasingly irrelevant,” Miller said.
In his presentation to investors, Carlock said the company hoped to communicate four themes to analysts:
• That The Fresh Market provides “a unique and differentiated grocery experience, with quality products, high-touch customer service and a positive in-store experience.”
• That it is successful at competing with conventional and other specialty markets.
• That improved analytics have enabled it to capitalize on real-estate opportunities in new and existing markets.
• That it is able to leverage its scale so it can mitigate margin pressures from competitors with reduced costs.