Seafood suppliers impacted by Earth Fare, Lucky’s closings

Seafood suppliers are feeling the sting of natural supermarket chain Earth Fare’s announcement on 3 February that it will close all of its 50 stores.

The Asheville, North Carolina, U.S.A.-based retailer said in a press release that inventory liquidation sales would begin immediately on 3 February. Earth Fare carried a wide variety of only sustainable fresh and frozen seafood.

"Earth Fare has been proud to serve the natural and organic grocery market, and the decision to begin the process of closing our stores was not entered into lightly,” the retailer said.

Over the past few years, Earth Fare said it implemented numerous strategic initiatives “aimed at growth and expansion and enhancing the customer experience.”

"While many of these initiatives improved the business, continued challenges in the retail industry impeded the company's progress as well as its ability to refinance its debt. As a result, Earth Fare is not in a financial position to continue to operate on a go-forward basis,” the retailer said. “As such, we have made the difficult but necessary decision to commence inventory liquidation sales while we continue to engage in a process to find potential suitors for our stores.”

Earth’s Fare demise was likely due to its price, value, and service equilibrium being out of balance, Steven Johnson, grocerant guru at Tacoma, Washington-based Foodservice Solutions, told SeafoodSource.

“Consumers want ‘better for you’ food, but there is a limit to what they are willing to pay. It is very difficult to scale higher prices and better for you,” Johnson said. “Even Whole Foods had to sell itself to Amazon. Remember: the ‘top 5 percent’ only consist of the top 5 percent.” 

Earth Fare’s news comes on the heels of Lucky’s Market filing for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in January.

On 21 January, Niwot, Colorado, U.S.A.-based Lucky’s, a natural food story that sold a wide variety of fresh and frozen sustainable seafood, along with prepared seafood meals, also announced it will be shuttering dozens of stores.

Photo courtesy of Bruce VanLoon/Shutterstock


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