The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Ahold Delhaize “is suspending its Bfresh brand of smaller-format, urban-focused grocery stores, which it had planned to open in Philadelphia as part of a larger national rollout.” The story also notes that the “Bfresh store in Brighton, Mass., is also set to close this weekend. The Brighton shop is one of three existing Bfresh locations, all of which are in the Boston area.”

The move - which includes the closure of an Everything Fresh small-store format in Philadelphia that was a parallel attempt at creating a new concept - is said to be part of a broader reversion to its established Stop & Shop brand because of time, expense and effort required to establish a new retail brand.

KC's View: If Ahold Delhaize’s intention is to shut down the Bfresh experiment, I think that’s a shame.

I’ve seen several of the stores, and I liked the approach … they weren’t perfect, they needed refinement and time to marinate, but the concept was intriguing and certainly worth investment. However, what I thought was most important about Bfresh was that the concept was created by a skunkworks team that was operating outside company headquarters, with smart and committed people empowered to try new things and emboldened by the reality that as consumers change, traditional retailers need to make fundamental changes. Bfresh never would’ve been created within the physical walls of company headquarters and the metaphysical walls of traditional thinking that has focused relentlessly on the Super Stop & Shop format for so many years.

I don’t know the numbers. Maybe they were hemorrhaging money. But the mindset that created Bfresh was necessary for any traditional retailer trying to be both relevant and resonant for a new competitive reality. It seems to me that for every traditional retailer, going back to the old way of doing business is beyond unacceptable. It is a kind of retail malpractice.