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Appel: Fresh Market to ‘double down’ on service

Apollo committed to reinvesting

The incoming CEO of The Fresh Market pledged to “double down” on quality and service and said stores under his watch would define value “more broadly than competitive pricing.”

The remarks from Larry Appel, which were emailed to SN Tuesday, indicate the chain may revisit at least some tweaks made by predecessor Rick Anicetti, who a year ago unveiled a group of renovated stores that added new aisles, hundreds of new products and offered lower prices. Officials at that time argued those changes would help The Fresh Market better compete in the Carolinas markets undergoing upheaval behind new entrants like Publix, Wegmans, Sprouts and Lidl, and associated responses from Walmart and Kroger.

Appel (left) emphasized that Apollo Capital, The Fresh Market’s owners, would continue to support investment in the brand. Sources told SN that disagreements over support for Anicetti’s changes may have led to his departure earlier this summer.

“I plan to double down on offering guests of The Fresh Market the most exceptional specialty store experience, highlighting curated and compelling products that are simply best-in-class — all in an intimate environment that delights the senses,” Appel said. “We will work to redefine our direction as needed, and while our future store refreshes may be different than those prior, we have a continued commitment to reinvesting in our portfolio.”

Appel said he would seek to “strike a balance” between one-of-a-kind products, meal solutions, quality produce, and meat and seafood grocery essentials.

“As for pricing, we’ll remain competitive on staple items, because that is critical to maintaining a bond of trust with our customers,” he added. “However, we will define value more broadly than competitive pricing, and our customer value proposition will also include an exceptional in-store experience, convenient meal solutions and unique specialty products that our customers crave.”

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