Fresh & Easy calls it quits
Before the first Fresh & Easy store opened in the U.S., Tesco was riding high and there were some who spoke of the new format in terms of transforming convenience store retailing in the U.S. From the outset, however, there was evidence of trouble and eventually Tesco bailed on its American experiment and sold the business to Ron Burkle’s Yucaipa Cos. Hopes that new ownership would result in a change of fortune for Fresh & Easy were never realized as the news broke yesterday that the company is in the process of closing down for good.
Fresh & Easy has sent layoff notices to its roughly 3,000 employees and plans to liquidate in the coming weeks. Some stores will be closed while others will be sold. The company has claimed that it had cut losses under Yucaipa and was moving closer to break even. The decision to close its doors, according to reports, was the result of not being able to obtain financing and reach the level of liquidity it needed to continue operations.
Yucaipa acquired 167 stores from Tesco and immediately closed 50 locations. The current store count for Fresh & Easy stands at 97. Potential suitors, according to an Orange County Register report, for Fresh & Easy locations include Aldi and Grocery Outlet, two chains that are ramping up expansion in California.
Editor’s Note: A 2007 RetailWire poll found that 72 percent expected Fresh & Easy to be successful in the U.S. Only 17 expected it to fail.
- Fresh & Easy liquidating, closing stores – The Orange County Register
- Fresh & Easy plans wind-down liquidation – Supermarket News
- Tesco’s Fresh & Easy Opens for Business – RetailWire
- Tesco Still Searching for Answers in the U.S. – RetailWire
- Tesco Still Fighting Uphill Battle in U.S. – RetailWire
- Tesco is Leaving the U.S. What Does That Mean for Fresh & Easy? – RetailWire
- Yucaipa Buys Fresh & Easy. What’s Next? – RetailWire
What is your postmortem on Fresh & Easy? What caused its demise? What retailers are most likely to benefit once it has gone?