- The Fresh Market announced this week it has appointed Adrian Bartella as chief financial officer, effective Jan. 17.
- Bartella previously served for nine years as CFO of travel retailer Hudson Group, helping guide the company through its public offering in 2018.
- The appointment marks the latest step towards a stock market push for The Fresh Market, which filed a registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) last year.
The chief financial officer position has been a hot seat at The Fresh Market in recent years. The grocer appointed cruise industry veteran Jim Heaney to the post in September 2020, but he left the position just over a year later, in October, according to his LinkedIn profile. Before Heaney, Oded Shein, now CFO at Shift Technologies, held the position for a little over two years.
With Bartella set to take over the position, the grocer has a seasoned executive with experience navigating a major company to the public markets. As part of Hudson Group’s $750 million IPO, he led the company’s registration process with the SEC, participated in the company’s investor roadshow and presented with company executives on quarterly earnings calls, according to The Fresh Market’s announcement.
"Adrian has an exceptional track record in retail and finance and is a proven executive with significant experience in helping companies navigate the public markets," Jason Potter, The Fresh Market’s CEO, said in a statement.
The appointment indicates the North Carolina-based grocer could make a push for the public markets sometime this year. The Fresh Market filed a confidential registration statement with the SEC last March and in July issued an S-1 statement making its case to potential investors. In December, the company provided an amended S-1 statement with updated financial information.
According to its latest S-1 filing, comparable sales at The Fresh Market grew 3.2% during the first three quarters of fiscal 2021, compared to a 21.1% increase in comps during the same period in 2020. Sales were up slightly, to nearly $1.4 billion, and adjusted earnings before income taxes, amortization and depreciation was $138.5 million compared to $157.2 million during the 2020 period.
Several food retailers have lined up for public offerings recently to capitalize on the pandemic-field sales influx, with varying degrees of success. Albertsons went public in 2020 while Southeastern Grocers shelved its IPO last year, reportedly due to lack of investor interest.
This would be The Fresh Market’s second stint as a public company, following a six-year run that began in 2010 and ended when private equity firm Apollo Global Management acquired the company in 2016. Since then, the company has reduced its store count and refocused on its roots as a specialty retailer. In early 2020, the company hired longtime grocery veteran and turnaround specialist Potter as CEO.