The future of bfresh is likely a small format Stop & Shop.
According to media reports, Netherlands-based Ahold Delhaize plans to close some and integrate the rest of its Fresh Formats LLC concept stores into existing banners.
A Philadelphia Inquirer article said plans for new bfresh stores in the Philadelphia area have been put on hold, and the 3,700-square-foot Everything Fresh prototype store opened in 2014 is slated for closure.
Ahold spokesman Chris Brand told the Inquirer the store was “always considered a learning lab” and the company intends to apply those learnings to other locations.
In Boston, bfresh locations also are changing. The Brighton store, opened in August 2016, is closing Thanksgiving weekend, according to a report, and the company plans to develop new, small format Stop & Shop stores based on the other locations.
“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,” Mark McGowan, Stop & Shop president told WCVB.
Paul Kneeland, the 2016 Produce Retailer of the Year, was the lead fresh merchant for Fresh Formats LLC. Kneeland left the company in April to take over as senior director of produce and floral for Encino, Calif.-based Gelson’s Markets.