retail news in context, analysis with attitude, the New York City-based pure-play online food delivery service, will expand into Greenwich, Connecticut, the company plans to announce today. At the same time, the company will double its presence in next door Westchester County to 21 communities.

"FreshDirect has grown consistently since we launched in New York City eight years ago and we're excited to begin serving new neighborhoods in Connecticut and Westchester County," CEO Richard Braddock says in a prepared statement. "Our core mission is to change our customers lives by giving them a superior online shopping experience and this is another significant milestone as we look to saturate the tri-state area and beyond."

The move will further put FreshDirect into greater competition with Ahold-owned Peapod, which is operated with its Stop & Shop chain in this marketplace, though FreshDirect seems to put a greater emphasis on fresh and prepared foods, while Peapod’s focus is more on packaged grocery.
KC's View:
FreshDirect had better do a superior job in fresh foods, because it appears to me that its grocery prices are a little out of whack. I did a quick check this morning, and discovered that FreshDirect is selling an 18-ounce package of Oreos for $5.19, while Peapod is selling the identical package for $3.29. (On the other hand, Amazon doesn’t carry that small a package, but does sell a 52.5 ounce box of Oreos for $16.19, which breaks out to about $5.55 for 18 ounces. In this case, at least, Peapod offers a vastly superior deal.)

Industry expert Frank Dell tells the Danbury News Times that he believes that the biggest challenge to FreshDirect will be generating big enough orders to make the business profitable. He’s right about that, but the bar may be slightly lower in the suburbs than it is is in New York City; someone with good knowledge of such things once told me that FreshDirect spends a million bucks a year just on parking tickets, which is a problem it won’t have on the gently rolling and oh-so-wealthy streets of Greenwich.