Independent supermarket Four Candles closes down soon after launch on Auckland’s North Shore

Four Candles – which opened at the old Nosh site on Constellation Avenue – is now closed. Photo/NZME

Independent supermarket Four Candles went out of business less than a year after opening.

The upscale Auckland grocery store founded by retail veterans Murray Snowden and Chris Fisher opened in October at the old Nosh site on Constellation Drive.

Shortly after the North Shore branch opened, Snowden told the Herald there were plans to open four supermarkets.

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But the sign in the window today said it was closed and thanked customers for their support.

Snowden has worked for Northern Foods, the UK’s largest food maker, and British supermarket chains Asda and Iceland.

The Constellation Drive site has been home to a handful of failed grocery store businesses over the years.

These include Foodstuffs’ short-lived small grocery business Fresh Collective by New World.

It didn’t run long on the site – the 700sqm location had been vacant for several months before Four Candles opened.

That location is near a larger Farro Fresh supermarket, just a few hundred meters down the road.

Four Candles – named after an old BBC comedy sketch – is designed to stock products and local artisan brands deemed too small to be sold in major supermarkets.

It also imports products such as French cheese, pasta and wine.

The store’s layout was designed with Covid-19 in mind, with aisles 30 percent wider than those of a typical grocery store, and low-level shelves.

In March, managing director Snowden described the first five months of trading as “like a roller coaster on a jumping jack”.

Unpredictability is the biggest challenge in forecasting and planning ahead, he said.

“Some days are especially quiet, then days that are well above average. A lot seems to depend on each day [Covid] The number of cases, that has a big impact on sentiment,” he said at the time.

The first Four Candles will open in October 2021. It was due to open in August last year but faced multiple delays due to the Auckland Delta lockdown.

He’s been tight-lipped about how many millions he invested to start the company.

Snowden said the company strives to operate with a more ethical business model. But it’s unclear how lucrative — or likely — that would be.

The Herald has contacted Four Candles for comment.

Just five months ago, Snowden said Four Candles would open two more sites in the near term, with the self-funded Constellation store being used as a testing ground to see what works best, and then planning for the next five years. Rapid expansion.

Retail expert Chris Wilkinson, managing director of First Retail Group, said the demise of Four Candles was very sad.

“There’s a lot of experience in the industry, but the challenges around cost and supply chain are difficult for even the most resourced operators to do.”

One commentator interviewed by the Herald said they believed the name Four Candles “failed to elicit attention or enthusiasm” and that the brand did not appear to have a clear proposition.

“It needs to be a coveted destination with artisan bakeries and abattoirs at its center, offering great coffee and everything you need every day. It will require operators to bring together independent operators,” the statement said. people said.

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