In another sign of the hypercompetitive local grocery market, The Fresh Market Inc. announced Thursday it is closing all three of its Sacramento-area stores, as well as a fourth location in Houston, Texas.
The upscale grocery chain, based in Greensboro, N.C., said the four closures are in the best interest of the company and its future profitability, according to a statement in its fourth-quarter earnings report released Thursday.
The three locations are at 7707 Laguna Blvd. in Elk Grove, 2030 Douglas Blvd. in Roseville and 2339 Fair Oaks Blvd., in the former Borders bookstore location. The Roseville store, which opened in 2012, was the companys first outlet in California. The Elk Grove and Sacramento locations opened in 2013.
Fresh Market said the local stores would be closing within a week. Phone calls to all three locations went unanswered. Efforts to reach the company were unsuccessful.
The surprise news of the Fresh Market closures came the same day that Safeway, the nations No. 2 supermarket chain, announced it was being sold for about $9.4 billion to Cerberus Capital Management, a private equity firm that also owns the Albertsons grocery chain. Nationwide, the grocery industry is unsettled, beset by rising costs, slim margins and competitive inroads from discounters like Wal-Mart and Target, as well as specialty grocers like Whole Foods and Sprouts.
Fresh Market, whose aesthetic, styling and gourmet organic produce are often compared with that of the Whole Foods grocery chain, operates 151 stores in 26 states.
The company has two other California stores, in Palo Alto and Santa Barbara.
In its earnings report, the company noted that based on new analytics to improve its site-selection process, it believes that a greater number of new store opportunities exist in markets east of the Mississippi River.
Last year, it opened 20 stores and has signed leases for another 25 future locations. On its website, two of the pending locations are Laguna Hills and Yorba Linda in Southern California.
Overall, Fresh Market said its net sales increased 15.1 percent in the fourth quarter to $425.8 million and were up 13.7 percent for all of 2013.
Call The Bees Claudia Buck, (916) 321-1968.