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UPDATED: Fresh & Easy Fate Unknown in Wake of Potential Sale

The parent company of the grocery chain, Tesco, announced that it plans to "put all options" on the table, including possibly selling off the stores.

Update - Fresh and Easy has released the following statement through their Facebook page:

You may have read today that our parent company, Tesco, has announced a ‘strategic review’ of fresh&easy. We wanted to reassure you, as our friends and greatest supporters, that we are open for business as usual and we look forward to bringing the same delicious, wholesome, and affordable food and the same great service that you have come to expect from us every day.

We appreciate all of the support and affirmations of “We ♥ fresh&easy” from our community of team members, neighbors and customers that we’ve been seeing today!

Original story: Could the Fresh & Easy markets in Palm Desert and Cathedral City be at risk of shutting their doors?

After several years of losing profits, Tesco, the grocery chain’s parent company, has announced that it has brought in an investment firm to review the finances for the troubled franchise and contends all options are on the table. 

Tesco has invested around $1.5 billion into the U.S. stores since opening in the West Coast region in 2007, reported the news site AdAge.  The idea behind the British-based company bringing its markets to the United States was to compete with Wal-Mart, but that has not proved to be an effective strategy, AdAge reported.

On an individual basis, many stores appear from the outside to be doing good business. Palm Desert's Fresh and Easy, on Monterey Avenue and Highwyay 111, has been open for years and seemed to be doing well, said Ruth Ann Moore, Palm Desert City Economic Development Manager.

"I can tell you that I shop in that store several times a week and they seem busy," Moore said.

Close to 200 stores employ more than 5,000 people in Southern California, Arizona, and Nevada, the publication reported.  The company opened its first stores in Northern California, San Francisco, and the Bay Area in March 2011.

Tesco reported its first fall in profits since 1994 in October, according to a news release.

“In October, we announced that new capital investment in Fresh & Easy was to be tightly constrained whilst the business focused on reducing costs and improving the profitability of its existing stores,” Chief Executive Philip Clarke said in a news release.  “It is now clear that Fresh & Easy will not deliver acceptable shareholder returns on an appropriate timeframe in its current form.”

The company also announced that it would make further announcements for the chain in April when the company’s annual financial reports are released.

“Following a year in which my priority for Fresh & Easy was to improve its performance, I have now made a fully-informed assessment of its longer term potential,” Clarke said. "Whilst the business has many positives, its journey to scale and acceptable returns will take too long relative to other opportunities. I have therefore decided to conduct a strategic review of Fresh & Easy, with all options under consideration.”

 

 

 

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