The Fresh Market (TFM) Rises on Insider Buying

Shares of Greensboro, North Carolina, based The Fresh Market, Inc. (TFM) rose on Tuesday on news of insider buying. The Fresh Market's stock was up $2.43 per share, or 7.96%, to $32.95, on volume of 1,091,600 shares. The company disclosed that it's chairman purchased a large block of the company's stock last week.

Founded in 1981, The Fresh Market is a gourmet grocery store chain that operates 157 stores in 26 states, and employs 11,700 people.
The company uses a "smaller box" strategy focusing on higher margin food items with an emphasis on personal service and an enjoyable customer shopping experience. The company went public in 2010, and its stock trades on the NASDAQ. For the fiscal year ended on January 26, 2014, the company had a net income of $50.81 million on revenues of $1.51 billion. On Tuesday the company announced that its chairman and founder, Ray D. Berry, had purchased 435,000 shares of The Fresh Market stock in the previous week. The shares were purchased at prices ranging from $30.04 to $30.44 per share. The purchase is widely interpreted as a vote of confidence in the company's near term prospects. News of the stock purchase by Berry comes on the heels of positive earnings reports issued by The Fresh Market two weeks ago for it's first fiscal quarter, ended on April 27. Net income in the first quarter of fiscal 2014 was $16.6 million, compared to $22.1 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2013. However, net income for the first quarter of fiscal 2014 reflects a $7 million charge for exit costs related to previously announced store closings in California and Texas. Total net sales for the first quarter of fiscal 2014 increased 17.6% to $431.0 million and comparable store sales increased 2.5% to $368.3 million from the first quarter of fiscal 2013. Meanwhile, the company has announced that it is opening several new stores. The company also affirmed that fiscal 2014 sales and adjusted net earnings are consistent with previous forward guidance. "We are pleased with our first quarter performance, especially given the weather-challenged start to the quarter in the majority of our markets," said The Fresh Market President and Chief Executive Officer, Craig Carlock. "Our positive comparable store sales and steady trends in customer traffic throughout the quarter were a result of our ongoing promotional successes and decision to hold prices steady despite higher food costs. During the quarter, we also continued to focus on increasing store penetration in existing markets and opened seven new stores in our core geographies, including Florida and North Carolina." The information coming out on The Fresh Market in recent weeks is in contrast to recent reports on its major competitor in the gourmet grocery sector, Whole Foods (WFM), which has reported flat earnings and been subject to downgrade by industry analysts. The Fresh Market is countering that trend by continuing to grow in what has of late been considered to be an increasingly crowded industry. Other News About The Fresh Market, Inc. TFM: Fresh Market Stock Soars on Double-Digit Sales Growth Stock jumped double-digits before falling back to earth after net sales increased 17% in Q1. Grocery Wars Heat Up As Fresh Market Expands Hours The Fresh Market to open stores an hour early to capture more sales. Other Stocks in the News What's Wrong With United Airlines? A Little Bit of Everything United has generally disappointed since its 2010 merger with Continental. FDA approves Merck's heart-attack prevention drug The FDA has approved a new drug by Merck that lowers the risk of heart attacks.

Published on Jun 4, 2014
By Kevin Mercadante

Copyrighted 2016. Content published with author's permission.

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