The Fresh Market isn't worried about Whole Foods' competitive price positioning and feels it is less prone to price sensitivity than its competitors, according to CFO Jeffrey Ackerman.
"Our view is that people are coming to us for the quality of the service, the quality of the food and a different shopping experience," Ackerman said last month.
The company plans to open 23 or 24 new stores in fiscal 2014, seven of which will be in Florida. Recent expansion efforts in Sacramento and Houston have struggled, and stores in Laguna Hills, CA and Dallas-Fort Worth are slated to open in the next year.
Analysts were cautiously optimistic about The Fresh Market's outlook following its first quarter earnings release last month. A Wells Fargo analyst said she was "encouraged to see comps did not decelerate in Q1, traffic was positive, new store productivity is improving and the company is committed to its refocused real estate strategy."