Private Label Buyer

Fresh & Easy Stores May Close

December 6, 2012

Tesco, one of the world's biggest retailers, may be closing up shop in the U.S. and fans and employees of Fresh & Easy are left until April possibly to wonder what will become of their stores.

"It's likely, but not certain, that our presence in America will come to an end," Tesco Chief Executive Philip Clarke said during a Wednesday conference call from Los Angeles, reported, after announcing a review of the U.S. division in its earnings report Tuesday.

British retailer Tesco has struggled with Fresh & Easy, its entry into America, which launched in 2007 with headquarters in El Segundo, Calif., and went on to open 200 stores across the West.

“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,” Clarke said in a statement.

Tesco said that it was considering different options for the business, and that in recent months it had been approached by several parties to buy either all or part of Fresh & Easy. Tesco said it might also partner with other companies.

Tim Mason, Fresh & Easy’s chief executive, will leave Tesco after more than 30 years with the company, it added.

Tesco said it will communicate progress on this process when it presents the company's full year results for the current financial year in April 2013.