Published on: February 3, 2020
Earth Fare announced this morning that it is closing its 50 stores, and has begun running going-out-of-business sales at each of its locations. The announcement comes barely after a year after the company, apparently in a fit of wishful thinking, was saying it planned to double its store count.
The Wall Street Journal this morning reports that Earth Fare said that "its efforts in recent years to expand and to improve customer service haven’t been enough to overcome its problem."
“While many of these initiatives improved the business, continued challenges in the retail industry impeded the company’s progress as well as its ability to refinance its debt. As a result, Earth Fare is not in a financial position to continue to operate,” the company said in a statement.
The Journal says that even as it sells off inventory and fixtures, Earth Fare is continuing to try to find a buyer for its stores.
Context from the Journal story:
"At least two other grocery chains have also started major restructurings in recent weeks.
Fairway Market filed for bankruptcy last month with a $70 million offer to sell all five of its Manhattan stores and a distribution and food preparation center to the Village Super Market Inc., which operates stores under the ShopRite banner. Village Super Market could shrink its bid to just three stores in Manhattan.
"Lucky’s Market, which has been backed by Kroger Co., filed for bankruptcy last week and is trying to close or sell about three dozen stores. Interested bidders include Aldi Inc. and Publix Super Markets Inc."
- KC's View:
I don't know this chain well, but from what I gather, its biggest problem was that it didn't have a strong enough brand identity nor a compelling enough offering to compete in a fractured and fractious marketplace. That's a recipe for disaster … if you don't stand for something, you're inevitably going to fall when the going gets tough. And the going only is tougher with every passing day.,
The Journal points out that last year Earth Fare decided to differentiate its offering by hiring a chief medical officer. Clearly, these efforts at life support and resuscitation didn't work.
Guess they should've hired an undertaker.