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Fresh & Easy Considers Closing All Stores

The British-owned grocery chain cites lack of profit as a reason for contemplating pulling out of the American market. Fresh & Easy has 19 stores in the Bay Area.

Fresh & Easy is going stale.

The grocery chain owned and operated by British supermarket giant Tesco could be shut down due to meager sales, according to company officials.

At this point, all 199 stores in the U.S. — with 19 locations in the Bay Area, including Concord, Walnut Creek, Danville, Antioch and Pleasanton in the East Bay — could be sold, closed or offered up to new partners, Chief Executive Officer Philip Clarke said, as reported by Bloomberg

The "Neighborhood Markets" began rolling out stores in the Bay Area in early 2011, after opening the first Fresh and Easy in Southern California in January of 2007. 

Fresh and Easy intended to set themselves apart with relatively small grocery stores, self-service-only check-outs, and variety of prepared meals ready-to-go without preservatives. The stores would also stock imported fare, like British candy bars, baked beans, teas and "biscuits" — or cookies, to Americans.

The aim was to establish a "post-melting-pot" grocery store that "reflected the wide diversity of the U.S. market and U.S. consumers," Fresh & Easy chief executive Tim Mason told the San Francisco Chronicle back in 2010.

However, the special items haven't been enough to draw a significant U.S. customer base, and opting for smaller stores as a way to differentiate the company may have backfired. 

Fresh and Easy representatives say that the stores will continue to operate as usual until a decision is made.

Why do you think Fresh & Easy has struggled in the U.S. market? Share your experiences and thoughts in the comments below.

Rick H. February 01, 2013 at 02:58 PM
EVERYTIME I bought their chicken it would be bad. I would open the packet and immediately a sting sulfurous odor would surround the room. Disgusting, dangerous and not an isolated incident...
Miss'y Jordan February 10, 2013 at 05:39 AM
To all the ones who are complaining! What's the difference from buying.Processed foods from Walmart that more likely to cause cancer! I am so, so, happy there are local organic food stores!!! I can buy fresh meats without sodium nitrates, sodium prosperous! Wake people support organic food stores!
nanomole39 February 10, 2013 at 06:48 AM
spread the word, organic and fresh is the way to go - please sign http://www.change.org/petitions/fresh-and-easy-keep-fresh-and-easy-stores-open
Heath April 06, 2013 at 09:40 PM
I will agree with some that the prices on a few items are higher than the local competitors. But that goes with any food chain. Quite a few of the prices are great and the produce is always fresh at the concord location. I can't believe the cry babies complaining about the self check out....that one of the selling points for me. Lean to control your kids from running around or leave em home when you shop! The self check out is easy and quick I love it! I will say marketing could be part of the problem for fresh and easy and it's lack of sales. I live in concord and must have been walking by the concord store multiple times weekly and never new it was even a grocery store. I also don't remember ever seeing a single tv advertisement. I only realized the store was there when I noticed a friend in the parking lot and she said she worked there so I checked it out. But I do love your stores and I hope they stay with us.

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