In other related news, Ahold USA announced the closing of two its fresh format units – the original 3,700 square foot “laboratory” store – Everything Fresh – located on Locust Street in Philadelphia which opened in late 2014, and a bfresh store in Brighton, MA which opened in 2016.
In the three years since AUSA announced the formation of its fresh formats division, the company has opened four bfresh stores. Two of those stores (Brighton and Fairfield, CT) have closed and the two remaining stores are located in Allston, MA and Somerville, MA.
As part of its brand-centric alignment announced earlier this year, those stores as well as the company’s Eastside Marketplace in Providence, RI (which it acquired in 2014) will now fall under the Stop & Shop brand led by veteran Ahold USA/Stop & Shop executive McGowan.
“As part of our brand-centric strategy, Stop & Shop plans to develop new, small store format opportunities,” stated McGowan. “Fresh Formats was specifically created to develop and test format opportunities to understand what works and what doesn’t work in urban and other small store locations. We will apply key learnings from bfresh and the Eastside Marketplace – such as innovative technology, fresh prepared meals, a health focused assortment and exciting ways to engage customers digitally and online – to Stop & Shop stores more broadly and to future alternative and small format store opportunities.”
A third fresh format store will open next year in Newton, MA.
Amid several conflicting reports, a source told us that Ahold USA has not withdrawn from four previously planned fresh format sites in Philadelphia, although those stores might not ultimately open as bfresh bannered units. The source told us that plans are continuing to develop those smaller footprints into fresh format units, but specific plans and timelines have not yet been firmed up.
Those future stores are located at 201 South Street (Abbotts Square); 3401 Chestnut Street; 1002 North Second Street; and 2303 Bainbridge Street, all in Center City.