- Ahold Delhaize is closing its Allston, Massachusetts, Bfresh grocery store at the end of the month, according to Boston.com. The 10,000 square-foot store offered fresh produce and both made-to-order and takeout meals.
- The store was not meeting financial expectations, according to a statement from Ahold Delhaize to Boston.com regarding the closure.
- The concept launched in 2015 under its Fresh Formats subsidiary. Another Bfresh location closed in 2017, leaving the Somerville, Massachusetts, location as the sole operating Bfresh store.
Bfresh is Ahold Delhaize’s attempt at offering a scaled-down, health-focused store to compete with local specialty players like Roche Bros. and Foodie's Urban Market as well as the larger Whole Foods. The format also gave the company reach in more dense urban areas and a smaller footprint than its Stop & Shop, Hannaford and Food Lion stores in the region.
The brand never quite took off as Ahold Delhaize envisioned. When the first store closed in 2017, Ahold Delhaize tried to rethink the concept, deciding to offer more private label products and fewer high-price specialty goods, while adding more meal kits to the lineup and revamping the bakery. Ahold Delhaize also rolled operations into its Stop & Shop banner.
The efforts didn’t seem to pay off, however, with the brand announcing it would halt further development of Bfresh stores later in the year. Heading into 2020, the future of Bfresh looks bleak.
Retailers are investing in small formats to help diversify their offerings and to overcome thin margins. These stripped-down formats also offer consumers speed and convenience. Hy-Vee’s Fast & Fresh is a modern take on a convenience store featuring classic fare, fresh produce and ready-to-eat meal options. Giant's Heirloom Market is a specially curated shopping experience for urban Philadelphia, and Meijer is working on its second small format store.
Ahold Delhaize is not the only grocer to face challenges with small concepts. Walmart has had to close several of its small format Neighborhood Markets this year, and Whole Foods decided to shutter its 365 format earlier this year.