Will Fresh & Easy Leave US Market?

Categories: Chain Reactions

We kept noticing a Fresh & Easy that was supposed to open off Valley View in Cypress but never did; now we know why. With at least 200 stores in California, Arizona and Nevada, the chain is likely going to pull out of the US market, leaving upwards of 5,000 employees without jobs.

Tesco, the brand's parent company, previously stated in their April annual report that it was, "building real momentum in Fresh & Easy" with 12 percent like-for-like-growth. So much for that.

The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union believes they could've avoided the current situation if investors chose to engage with community stakeholders and its customers. In related news, Fresh & Easy CEO Tim Mason just announced that he is leaving Tesco after 30 years of service.

"It is likely, but not certain, that our presence in America will come to an end," stated Tesco CEO Philip Clarke. Maybe if they focused more on tailoring their limited store selection to each region's tastes (and less on prepackaged items in the refrigerated case) they could've thrived. We're thinking Trader Joe's is breathing a small sigh of relief.

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JBinOC topcommenter

Sad news, in my opinion.  

But not surprising...in the past few months, it has almost seemed that Fresh & Easy had already begun its "going out of business" sale.  It slashed prices drastically and promoted the discounts with bold, desperation-screaming signs that contradicted the hip, confident attitude it conveyed since opening 5 years ago.  For example, burritos, which had been around $3.99, were reduced to $1.99, with just a slight modification in ingredients and weight. 

Tesco has no one to blame but itself for a case-study worthy chain of mistakes...everything from launching in suburban-central USA (OC, the Inland Empire, etc.) to not launching its loyalty program until just last year. 

As the LA Times noted, Walgreens is most likely salivating over F&E for the real estate.  The Wall Street Journal said Family Dollar and Dollar General are suitors.  At this point, we can just pray that one of the larger food entities like Safeway or even Stater Bros. may want to acquire a niche subsidiary and keep some of the stores operating with the best Fresh & Easy innovations intact.  

Meanwhile, I've got to get a freezer and start buying up that amazing F&E Chicken Tortilla soup.  


@JBinOC I'm right there with you on the chicken tortilla soup. For being pre-made, that stuff is freaking delicious. Damn, what a bummer though :(

JBinOC topcommenter

Although, on second thought, the unions would kill any idea of Safeway or Stater Bros. acquiring non-union Fresh & Easy. 

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