The parent company of Fresh & Easy has announced it's selling the grocery chain after years of blistering losses, but business will continue as usual at the San Luis Obispo location.
“We are not closing down. Until we find a buyer, everything is normal,” said Justin Flanders, store manager for the Fresh & Easy market on Broad Street. The store, which opened in February 2012, has 15 employees.
Tesco, the largest British grocer, will attempt to sell Fresh & Easy and its 200 stores in California, Arizona and Nevada. The chain launched to great fanfare in November 2007 — just before the recession and sub-prime mortgage crisis swept through the U.S., causing Americans to retreat to the security of familiar brands.
Analysts said that Fresh & Easy’s use of self-service check-out stands confused consumers used to heavy store helper presence. The chain’s lack of vouchers and coupons alienated price-sensitive shoppers. And the push toward ready-made meals weren’t compatible with local tastes.
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Fresh & Easy, which employs 5,000 people, failed to make any money during its run. To abandon the project, Tesco said Tuesday it will take a write-off of 1.2 billion pounds — or $1.8 billion. Read more at latimes.com »