retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The Journal News reports that health/natural foods retailer Mrs. Green's Neighborhood Market is closing down five of its stores in Westchester and Connecticut, with plans to focus on five remaining "core" locations in Westchester County. At the same time, CEO Pat Brown is stepping down, "with existing management taking over his duties until a replacement is found."

The story notes that "the retailer began experiencing a supply disruption last month and it affected several of the chain's stores in Westchester County. Signs posted in stores in Eastchester and Rye apologized to customers for the inconvenience. Last week, an entire dairy case at the Rye store was empty of yogurt and other products. On Tuesday, the Rye store's dairy case was still mostly empty.

"The Eastchester store was in better shape Tuesday morning, with most of the shelves and refrigerated cases well stocked."

The Journal News notes that Mrs. Green's is controlled by an entity called Natural Markets Food Group.
KC's View:
I feel bad about Pat Brown. He's an accomplished executive who worked at both NewSeasons and HEB before moving to Mrs. Brown's, and he is someone about whom people I highly respect speak highly. So I have to wonder if this is a case of not being given the tools to make a difference, or maybe it was just a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. (I questioned the wisdom of moving from Portland, Oregon, to Irvington, New York, when he first took the Mrs. Green's job ... but that had more to do with my feelings about both places than the companies involved.)

As for Natural Markets Foods Group ... I don't know much about these folks, but I do know they have a vacuous website that tells one very little about the organization. It wouldn't give me a lot of confidence about their ability to bring in a competent replacement for Brown, or in the company's ability to turn things around. (Though there may be a few former A&P's executives knocking around who are looking for work...)