The Fresh Market has begun opening stores an hour earlier in an attempt to boost comparable-store sales and stay competitive with rivals Whole Foods Market and Sprouts Farmers Market.
According to a recent research note from Sterne Agee analyst Chuck Grom, the majority of Fresh Market stores now open at 8 a.m. instead of 9 a.m., and stores on Sundays are staying open until 9 p.m. — an hour later than they previously have. The nine extra operating hours represent an 11% increase in hours per week at stores.
Grom said The Fresh Market would likely realize some comp-store sales benefit as a result of the extended hours, noting that both Dollar General and Family Dollar realized a comp benefit of around 1.5% by extending their hours in a similar manner in 2008 and 2009, respectively. The switch also brings The Fresh Market closer to the opening hours of Sprouts and Whole Foods, which typically open at 7 a.m. and 8 a.m., respectively.
“On the positive side, the longer hours could provide a boost to comps and aligns the chain with industry,” Grom wrote. “On the negative side, the change is certainly validation that the competitive landscape remains intense.”
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