Ralph's Fresh Fare Indian Wells Closing

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CalItalian
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Ralph's Fresh Fare Indian Wells Closing

Post by CalItalian »

Didn't have much business anytime I was in the area. Closing July 1, 2016. Yet another Ralphs going out of business...
http://www.kesq.com/news/indian-wells-r ... r/39292612
Last edited by CalItalian on April 30th, 2016, 11:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Ralph's Fresh Fare Indian Wells Closing

Post by pseudo3d »

CalItalian wrote:Didn't have much businesses anytime I was in the area. Closing July 1, 2016. Yet another Ralphs going out of business...
http://www.kesq.com/news/indian-wells-r ... r/39292612
Interesting how the woman quoted still referred to the CVS as Sav-on, even though it hasn't been such for a decade. Guess old habits die hard. :roll:
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Re: Ralph's Fresh Fare Indian Wells Closing

Post by veteran+ »

pseudo3d wrote:
CalItalian wrote:Didn't have much businesses anytime I was in the area. Closing July 1, 2016. Yet another Ralphs going out of business...
http://www.kesq.com/news/indian-wells-r ... r/39292612
Interesting how the woman quoted still referred to the CVS as Sav-on, even though it hasn't been such for a decade. Guess old habits die hard. :roll:

Yeah..........especially in the land of geritol.

:lol:
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Re: Ralph's Fresh Fare Indian Wells Closing

Post by veteran+ »

CalItalian wrote:Didn't have much business anytime I was in the area. Closing July 1, 2016. Yet another Ralphs going out of business...
http://www.kesq.com/news/indian-wells-r ... r/39292612

I think that Ralphs is doing the same thing (possibly for slightly different reasons) that Vons/Pavillions did a couple of years ago in the desert area.

No matter what you read about the Coachella Valley doing great business, attracting tourists, etc., it really is not true. This area is in fact a low volume per store adventure. Every major company there registers lower volumes (averaged to include "season" numbers) than their other typical neighborhood or cities.

It was an intrepid move for even Whole Foods to open in Palm Desert (they are doing well but significantly below their average volume stores).

I believe that Ralphs and Vons smartly want to run fewer stores in the desert but hopefully higher volume stores. Instead of the typical 1 to 1.5 mile radius for a grocery store demographic they may be stretching this to 2 to 2.5 mile (or more) radius.
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Re: Ralph's Fresh Fare Indian Wells Closing

Post by pseudo3d »

veteran+ wrote:
CalItalian wrote:Didn't have much business anytime I was in the area. Closing July 1, 2016. Yet another Ralphs going out of business...
http://www.kesq.com/news/indian-wells-r ... r/39292612

I think that Ralphs is doing the same thing (possibly for slightly different reasons) that Vons/Pavillions did a couple of years ago in the desert area.

No matter what you read about the Coachella Valley doing great business, attracting tourists, etc., it really is not true. This area is in fact a low volume per store adventure. Every major company there registers lower volumes (averaged to include "season" numbers) than their other typical neighborhood or cities.

It was an intrepid move for even Whole Foods to open in Palm Desert (they are doing well but significantly below their average volume stores).

I believe that Ralphs and Vons smartly want to run fewer stores in the desert but hopefully higher volume stores. Instead of the typical 1 to 1.5 mile radius for a grocery store demographic they may be stretching this to 2 to 2.5 mile (or more) radius.
Why not try for smaller stores? I mean, there are a few ACME stores kicking around in these quiet New Jersey/MD shore towns that are incredibly small (like, to the tune of 15k square feet) and keep a skeleton crew during offseason (three people running the entire store), and Safeway/Albertsons has collected not only a fine collection of urban stores in hard to crack markets (S.F., Dallas, Washington DC, Chicago) but also in some really desolate locations (including Nome, Alaska). I can't imagine why Kroger just can't operate smaller locations (especially if they do elsewhere) so being low volume isn't as big of a problem.
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Re: Ralph's Fresh Fare Indian Wells Closing

Post by storewanderer »

Operating costs are much higher in California than the Acme region. The Acme Stores you describe are very small operations with limited parking lots, no bakery, no deli, no service meat. Cheap and easy to run. This store is easily 35,000 square feet with a full perimeter. Hot summers. 115 degrees. I'm sure air conditioning costs a fortune.

Also Kroger runs with a lower price structure than Albertsons. Those super high prices that Safeway and Albertsons have help to subsidize this low volume type of operation. Ralphs has been acting more and more like a typical Kroger division in regards to pricing in recent years (they are still higher than other divisions, but the gap is not what it once was) and it would appear stores like this are the victim of the modified pricing strategy. Sure, they could have increased the prices in this store to make up for the low volume, but that doesn't really help the chain's overall reputation for pricing...

Stores in the Coachella Valley are quite sad places during off season. Small scaled back perimeters, few customers, bored employees. Stater Bros. seems to stay the busiest in the off season.
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Re: Ralph's Fresh Fare Indian Wells Closing

Post by klkla »

I wouldn't read too much into this. That stretch of Highway 111 through Palm Desert and Indian Wells is still valuable real estate. The customer base is wealthy but as mentioned above very seasonal. It's just that the competitive landscape changed dramatically.

In past years you had a steady competitive situation (driving west to east)

Vons > Jensen's > Albertson's > Ralphs and while none of these stores were particularly high volume they all made money.

But then the competitive landscape was changed by two new entrants (three if you include Haggen/Smart and Final Extra) and you had:

WalMart Neighborhood Market > Whole Foods > Haggen (former Vons and now Smart and Final) > Jensen's > Albertson's > Ralphs and there was too much competition.

Now there we will be five stores on that stretch:

WalMart NM > Whole Foods > Smart and Final Extra > Jensen's > Albertson's

Albertson's would seem safe now as the only conventional grocer in the immediate area. But can the neighborhood support two discount stores and two upscale stores? I would think Jensen's might be vulnerable but having the Ralphs Fresh Fare close might give them a little bit more business.
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Re: Ralph's Fresh Fare Indian Wells Closing

Post by veteran+ »

pseudo3d wrote:
veteran+ wrote:
CalItalian wrote:Didn't have much business anytime I was in the area. Closing July 1, 2016. Yet another Ralphs going out of business...
http://www.kesq.com/news/indian-wells-r ... r/39292612

I think that Ralphs is doing the same thing (possibly for slightly different reasons) that Vons/Pavillions did a couple of years ago in the desert area.

No matter what you read about the Coachella Valley doing great business, attracting tourists, etc., it really is not true. This area is in fact a low volume per store adventure. Every major company there registers lower volumes (averaged to include "season" numbers) than their other typical neighborhood or cities.

It was an intrepid move for even Whole Foods to open in Palm Desert (they are doing well but significantly below their average volume stores).

I believe that Ralphs and Vons smartly want to run fewer stores in the desert but hopefully higher volume stores. Instead of the typical 1 to 1.5 mile radius for a grocery store demographic they may be stretching this to 2 to 2.5 mile (or more) radius.
Why not try for smaller stores? I mean, there are a few ACME stores kicking around in these quiet New Jersey/MD shore towns that are incredibly small (like, to the tune of 15k square feet) and keep a skeleton crew during offseason (three people running the entire store), and Safeway/Albertsons has collected not only a fine collection of urban stores in hard to crack markets (S.F., Dallas, Washington DC, Chicago) but also in some really desolate locations (including Nome, Alaska). I can't imagine why Kroger just can't operate smaller locations (especially if they do elsewhere) so being low volume isn't as big of a problem.


Land use in the desert is very different, even from other parts of Riverside County and very different that greater L.A.

One issue that adds to the mix is Native American land rights (especially in Palm Springs).

Smaller stores (less than 25000sqft) would not work in the desert for many reasons. Niche operators with at least 25000sqft do well like Sprouts. We will see how Aldi does as a niche operator with 11000sqft.
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Re: Ralph's Fresh Fare Indian Wells Closing

Post by veteran+ »

storewanderer wrote:Operating costs are much higher in California than the Acme region. The Acme Stores you describe are very small operations with limited parking lots, no bakery, no deli, no service meat. Cheap and easy to run. This store is easily 35,000 square feet with a full perimeter. Hot summers. 115 degrees. I'm sure air conditioning costs a fortune.

Also Kroger runs with a lower price structure than Albertsons. Those super high prices that Safeway and Albertsons have help to subsidize this low volume type of operation. Ralphs has been acting more and more like a typical Kroger division in regards to pricing in recent years (they are still higher than other divisions, but the gap is not what it once was) and it would appear stores like this are the victim of the modified pricing strategy. Sure, they could have increased the prices in this store to make up for the low volume, but that doesn't really help the chain's overall reputation for pricing...

Stores in the Coachella Valley are quite sad places during off season. Small scaled back perimeters, few customers, bored employees. Stater Bros. seems to stay the busiest in the off season.
Pre merger Albertsons was always the highest of the traditional grocers but had incredible variety and friendlier employees.
Next up was Vons/Pavilions with prettier stores and lots more organics.
Ralphs was always in the middle with Staters always the cheapest.
There is some shifting going around with the merger and the Haggen and Fresh & Easy thing. Albertsons/Vons (don't think there are any Pavilions in the desert any more) are still the highest but lower than Albertsons was. Ralphs is getting lower and Staters is still the lowest.
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Re: Ralph's Fresh Fare Indian Wells Closing

Post by veteran+ »

klkla wrote:I wouldn't read too much into this. That stretch of Highway 111 through Palm Desert and Indian Wells is still valuable real estate. The customer base is wealthy but as mentioned above very seasonal. It's just that the competitive landscape changed dramatically.

In past years you had a steady competitive situation (driving west to east)

Vons > Jensen's > Albertson's > Ralphs and while none of these stores were particularly high volume they all made money.

But then the competitive landscape was changed by two new entrants (three if you include Haggen/Smart and Final Extra) and you had:

WalMart Neighborhood Market > Whole Foods > Haggen (former Vons and now Smart and Final) > Jensen's > Albertson's > Ralphs and there was too much competition.

Now there we will be five stores on that stretch:

WalMart NM > Whole Foods > Smart and Final Extra > Jensen's > Albertson's

Albertson's would seem safe now as the only conventional grocer in the immediate area. But can the neighborhood support two discount stores and two upscale stores? I would think Jensen's might be vulnerable but having the Ralphs Fresh Fare close might give them a little bit more business.
Yes, all that land is very valuable but development in the desert does not move forward like it does in other areas that may seem similar. It goes very slow after much politics, Native American issues, environmental issues and then the big nut comes..........who wants to take a chance and open up shop? The business failure rate in the Coachella Valley is very high. The best performer in the area is Palm Desert and it has not been updated in more than a decade.

As far as grocers go the area represents the lowest volume stores for each respective retailer (including season numbers).
Jensen's stores are all low volume units but may be marginally profitable because of their high prices (higher than Whole Foods in most cases). Also a couple of years ago they closed some units.
Walmart Neighborhood Markets is a dismal operation and very surprising that it is still open.
Ralphs Fresh Fare knocks the socks off of Jensen's and Whole Foods is killing the nearby Jensens. I am guessing that Gelsons will finish the job.

Even Trader Joes stores do way less volume than their other stores else wear.

Desert stores used to typically increase in volume during season as high as 100%. Those numbers are trending lower and as low as 25% increase. Believe me, that was shocking to experience.
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