The Fresh Market experienced an unanticipated sales slowdown across its store base, which it attributes to changing economic conditions and softening consumer confidence. Despite the slowdown, the company’s comparable-store sales grew and its gross margin expanded.
The company reported net sales of $364.5 million for the third quarter ended Oct. 27, a 13.4% increase from the year-ago quarter. Comparable store sales increased 3.1%, primarily driven by a 2.8% increase in transaction volume and a 0.3% increase in average transaction size. Sales from stores in new markets were mixed.
“We continued to invest in our growth strategy this quarter as we opened 10 new stores in seven states, from Florida to California,” said president and CEO Craig Carlock. “Entering the final quarter of the year, I believe we are well-positioned to deliver store unit growth in excess of 17% and open a record 22 new stores this fiscal year.”
The company has revised its outlook and now expects diluted earnings per share to be $1.42 to $1.47.
Founded in 1982, the Fresh Market is a specialty grocery retailer which operates 149 stores in 26 states across the United States.