Ahold Backs Away From Some bfresh Sites

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Ahold Backs Away From Some bfresh Sites

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PHILADELPHIA — Ahold USA is putting a halt on opening its small-format, urban-focused bfresh stores that it had planned to open in Philadelphia as part of a broader national rollout.

The company still plans to use the Philadelphia real estate that it secured to accommodate three bfresh stores in the area for other store concepts, according to two anonymous sources.

The Everything Fresh grocery store on Walnut Street in Philadelphia, which Ahold's Fresh Formats LLC division opened in December 2014 as a prototype for the smaller-format stores, will close Saturday, Nov. 25.

"The decision to close the Everything Fresh store was a difficult one, but the location was always considered a learning lab and we intend to use those learnings going forward," said Ahold spokesperson Chris Brand.

The bfresh location in Brighton, Mass., will also close this weekend. One of three existing bfresh locations in the Boston area, the 9,700-square-foot store opened on Aug. 19, 2016. It features Little Kitchen, a meal convenience destination that offers made-to-order foods to eat on site; ready-to-eat or -heat items to go; and fresh meal components to make meals at home.

The company plans to integrate the bfresh brand with its Stop & Shop banner.

Ahold USA made the shift to smaller formats with the opening of the first bfresh market on Sept. 18, 2015, in Allston, Mass. The 10,000-square-foot store was the first such concept from Ahold USA's Fresh Formats subsidiary, which was established in 2014 to explore and develop new growth opportunities for its store formats.

A part of the Netherlands-based Ahold Delhaize, Ahold USA is operator of supermarket brands such as Stop & Shop, Giant Food Stores and Martin’s Food Markets.

To read the full story, visit Convenience Store News sister publication Progressive Grocer.