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Luxury Chain Dean & DeLuca Closes its Doors

Dean & Deluca Photo: CADA Design

It’s an amusing irony: the company that sold Americans luxury is now failing to pay its own bills. Once considered the Gucci of grocery stores, high-end food chain Dean & DeLuca is closing its doors as both products and people become scarce. What was at one time synonymous with picturesque fruit displays, high-end vinegars and oils, and special baked goods has now become antonymous. 

Here’s a quick rundown: after being bought by Thai brand Pace Development in 2014, Dean & DeLuca began to drown in debt. It pulled out of lease agreements, revoked sponsorships, and closed stores all across the U.S., including in North Carolina, Kansas, Maryland, and even New York City.

Photo: Go Jackie Go

Small vendors have publicly released debt statements. Brooklyn bakery Bien Cuit is missing a whopping $56,000, while Amy’s Bread is owed $51,000 and French-inspired Colon Patisserie, $24,000. Meanwhile, Eleni’s Cookies, who sued the company for $86,000 in 2018 and settled for 50 cents on the dollar, took a major loss.

Even bigger chain stores like Whole Foods are taking a slight hit. According to Technomic food service industry analyst David Henkes, discount grocers are “where a lot of the growth has been on the retail side.” This is why Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s has a wallet-friendly store in the form of Aldi, a Germany-based discount chain.

This trend comes as no surprise as millennials and Gen Z consumers move to the web to obtain their groceries. What were once specialties only found on Dean & DeLuca’s shelves are now all online, from bigger platforms like Amazon to specialty e-commerce sites like our very own BUBBLE.

Photo: Supermarket News

The competitive landscape for the food industry as a whole has truly changed. Not only are there changes in food offerings, but the way these goods are sold are equally as exciting and transformative. While the current trend is a move towards online marketplaces and discount grocers, this may be completely different in the next year. One thing is for sure, however: expect several changes in the steps you take to get food into your fridge and body.