As reported in Supermarket News, famed NYC retailer Fairway is about to join the ranks of Whole Foods and The Fresh Market as the latest upscale grocer to set investors spreadsheets on fire.
Not long ago there were just three locations, but Fairway, with its well-earned, nearly cultish following, now operates 12 stores in the New York, New Jersey, Connecticut Metro Area. Initial plans to offer an IPO in 2012 were disrupted by Hurricane Sandy. While expansion costs has had the chain operating at a loss the last several years, fortunes for Fairway are extremely bright.
Sales continue to grow strongly with a company reported whopping $1,859 sales per square foot. Opportunities for growth are strong in the region, throughout Long Island, Westchester County, NY, Fairfield and New Haven County, CT and Northern and Central New Jersey. Just a little bit of real estate, right?
Not only are the demographics right but the retail landscape is too. Stores in the tri-state area are for the most part surprisingly unimpressive, making Fairway’s plans that much more lip smacking good.
Before expanding beyond its first location on Broadway’s Upper West Side, more than a few suburbanites made Fairway part of a ritualized NYC food pilgrimage along with Zabar’s and lesser known specialty markets such as Citarella and smoked fish retailers Murray’s Sturgeon and 100 year old Barney Greengrass, the self-proclaimed sturgeon king.
Yet along with Fairway’s huge and top-notch selection of produce, it offers an impressive array of specialty foods, fresh meat, poultry, seafood, smoked fish, bulk foods and baked goods made it increasingly the one-stop destination, eclipsing its other, older and more authentic rivals. Additionally store sells a large variety of store made heat and serve meals along with ‘a natural foods store within a store” selling value-priced brand name natural/organic foods, supplements and personal care too.
In other words the store can compete against a wide array of competitors beyond specialty gourmet, including conventional grocers, Whole Foods and even Trader Joe’s. Of course expansion has its perils, so the big question would be whether the chain can retain its magic, should it continue to grow so quickly.