December 21, 2010, 3:54 PM

Online grocer FreshDirect LLC is closer than ever to going national

FreshDirect says it is looking along the eastern seaboard.

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Online grocer FreshDirect LLC is closer than ever to going national.

FreshDirect, No. 70 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, confirmed today it was looking to expand to other sections of the country outside of its core market of New York City and its suburbs.

Specifically, FreshDirect says it is looking at a number of big metropolitan areas along the eastern seaboard, including Baltimore, Boston, Philadelphia and Washington, DC.

“FreshDirect has been experiencing over 20% sales growth and will expand beyond the tri-state area,” FreshDirect said in a statement this afternoon. “Baltimore and Washington, DC, are among the target expansion markets.” 

FreshDirect issued a statement on its future expansion plans after several published reports cited unnamed sources as saying that the online grocer was looking to raise more working capital—possibly as much as $200 million—to expand into new territories. A FreshDirect spokeswoman denies published reports that the company was working with a German-based investment banking firm to raise up to $200 million.

FreshDirect, which posted web sales of $240 million in 2009, in June told Internet Retailer that the timing was getting close for expansion beyond metropolitan New York. “When you look at the online grocery market size, which is about $20 billion, there is so huge an opportunity there,” FreshDirect chief marketing and strategy officer Monica Woo told Internet Retailer. “So to us, it’s strategically important to expand. The question is: expand quickly with funding or slowly without it.”

FreshDirect also expanded its delivery service to 21 communities in Westchester County, NY, and four suburban Connecticut towns including Greenwich and Riverside in April. The move was aimed to follow FreshDirect customers as they migrated from city to suburban life, the company says.

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