The Fresh Market CEO At Goldman Sachs 2012 Global Retailing Conference (Transcript)

The Fresh Market (TFM)

Goldman Sachs 2012 Global Retailing Conference

September 05, 2012 03:00 PM ET


Craig Carlock - President and CEO

Lisa Klinger - CFO



Unidentified Analyst

Good afternoon everyone. I am Steven (inaudible) on the food and retail analyst at Goldman Sachs. And we're very excited to have Fresh Market which is one of the highest growth concept markets in retail at the conference. As it grows from 124 stores today to over 500 longer term. The recent combination of accelerating low to mid teen square footage growth, consistent mid to high single digit comp growth and operating margin expansion as powered 30% plus EPS growth year to date. To better shed light on what differentiates the Fresh Market from its peers to create this opportunity we're pleased to host Craig Carlock, President and CEO and Lisa Klinger EVP and CFO.

Craig Carlock

Thank you Steven. Hello everyone. Lisa and I are very excited to be here with you today. Like to talk you about the Fresh Market. [Audio Gap] For the reason that we're so confident that we can grow is because we've been growing for many, many years. We have a history of sales and profit growth, there's just no doubt about that. I think these charts tell quite an exciting story, if you take a look at them. On the top left you can see we've grown units, 10% the last five years and I would say we slowed down our unit growth in 2008 and 2009 so that five year growth rate of 10% compounded includes two slow years. We've growing sales by 11%, the sales have grown faster than units and we've built units and built sales. We've growing profits much faster than that. You see we have an adjusted EBITDA that's grown by 20% and operating income that's grown by 23% per year over those five years.

Now we're very pleased with the growth and the financial performance of the business and growth is part of the company, I will tell you is part of the culture, is part of what we talk about, plan for and prepare for and then if you catch the graph, catch the second quarter, you see we've got 21% sales growth and 31%. So great five year trends and then really fast growth versus first and second quarter of this year.

Now let`s talk about the industry we compete in and the demographics. We're very excited to compete in the $1 trillion food industry. This is a very large and stable industry. So while we are high growth retail, we compete in a large stable industry. Second point I would like to make about the industry is that there are trends within the industry that are going to benefit us. And are going to provide a very nice tailwind. These trends include healthy, fresh, regionally sourced, locally sourced all of those trends absolutely work in our favor. When people have questions related to health, fresh, local, regional, we're the kind of store they turn to for answers.

Point on our customer demographics. Our customers represent a highly desirably demographic. Our customers appreciate quality. They are less driven by price. They tend to be well educated. They like to entertain and they are skewed towards higher income. Now while that's all true. If you go to one of our stores, you'll see a broad cross section of people because there are things in the store that appeal to anyone who enjoys food. So this is a very powerful combination that works in our favor. Great customer demographics and consumer trends coming our way.

Talk for a minute about the stores. We think people come to the stores for three reasons. The first is great food quality, the second is superior customer service and the third is the neighbor grocery atmosphere. We work extremely hard to source great tasting food weather it's an especially sweet pineapple or cooked shrimp, stakes (inaudible) for tenderness. If you are to walk around the store, you'll find meaningfully different and better food tasting products.

Top lining the food is service and for us the service involves an engaging store experience. We've got dark tile floors, soft lightening, we play classical music, we sample coffee, we carry groceries to customers' cars. Quite honestly, we don't think you can find this food shopping experience anywhere else.

If you look at this diagram, you can see the categories where we compete. If you look at the perimeter, you see the perishable categories, that's where the produce, the meat, the sea food, daily, bakery are, prepared foods. We round out the customer shopping experience in the interior of the store with dry packaged grocery items, book, coffee, candy, beer and wine.

Finally and this is very important. We point out what you don't see. You don't see aisle after aisle of low margin commodity staple items. We make our biggest statements in the perishable categories, that's where we compete. That's where the higher margins are, is in the perishable categories.

We're often asked about how we set our prices, so let`s talk a little bit about pricing. We are committed to providing fair and reasonable prices. I think that's what you hear a lot of people say but I may not want to say our prices are structured to build trust. We're trying to build a coast to coast retailer and we're going to have prices that in general trust between us and our customers. When a customer comes into the store, quite honestly, we're looking for relationship not a transaction. That's how we train our managers. That's how we train our (inaudible), how we talk to ourselves, is we're trying to build a relationship and that's how we set our prices. So let`s talk about a little bit.

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