Fresh Market profit falls on higher sales; will open 16-17 new stores

Greensboro, N.C. – The Fresh Market Inc. reported decreasing profit in the first quarter of fiscal 2014 even as net sales growth exceeded Wall Street expectations. Net income fell 25% to $16.57 million from $22.12 million in the same period the prior year, while net sales increased 18% to $431 million from $366.63 million and same-store sales climbed 2.5%.

Fresh Market plans to open four new stores in the second quarter and 12 to 13 new stores in the second half of the year, as well as remodel four-to-five stores.

The decline in first quarter net income includes pre-tax store closure and exit costs of $7 million related to previously announced store closings in California and Texas. Fresh Market expects same-store sales growth of 1.5%-3.5% during the fiscal year.

“We are pleased with our first quarter performance, especially given the weather-challenged start to the quarter in the majority of our markets,” said Greg Carlock, president and CEO. “Our positive same-store sales and steady trends in customer traffic throughout the quarter were a result of our ongoing promotional successes and decision to hold prices steady despite higher food costs. During the quarter, we also continued to focus on increasing store penetration in existing markets and opened seven new stores in our core geographies, including Florida, and North Carolina.”