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Tesco/Fresh and Easy Markets - Good?

We just learned that there is a Tesco/Fresh and Easy Market opening in our neighborhood in Ventura County in Southern California.

I checked their website, but I don't know much about these British markets. Does anyone have any experience shopping at a Tesco/Fresh and Easy Market?

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  1. would love a Tesco's in Florida where Publix has the monopoly. their own brand stuff is fab. Not sure what a Fresh and Easy Market is though

    1 Reply
    1. re: smartie

      Thanks for the response, smartie. I will keep in mind to look for their brand "stuff."

      Apparently, the Fresh and Easy Market will be a small-ish store with fresh, organic produce and other items. They are taking a large supermarket that has been empty for awhile and subdividing it; thus, it will not be a full-size store. Beginning with an empty store, they expect to open in about 4 - 5 months.

    2. This is Tesco's first entry into the US market. I heard a bit about them on the radio tonight. They think they see a niche in going into under-served areas where there are only convenience stores and such and offering fresh food. They were talking about locations in inner cities, etc, which are typically not well served by standard groceries. They're starting all on the west coast from what I remember.

      Should be interesting to see. We have a local chain, Giant Eagle, that is experimenting with a couple of similar-sized and similar concept stores. Tesco from what I know has done well in Britain adapting different store models to different locations. In this country, though, or at least from what I've seen, we don't have so much of this going on. The shrunken groceries we're used to are less likely to have fresh foods in my experience.

      2 Replies
      1. re: CrazyOne

        Thanks, CrazyOne, for this information.
        I can't imagine why they are coming into our neighborhood to compete with an accessible Gelson's, Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, Bristol Farms, and all the other huge chain markets. We are only minutes away from so many...I just don't know if they can co-exist.

        1. re: CrazyOne

          From what I've read Tesco is one of the largest retailers in the world (I think 2nd only to Walmart??). They tried to buy the Albertson's chain a while back and were unsuccessful, so they decided to go it on their own with a launch in Southern California and Nevada. I know they were looking for space in parts of Orange County, CA, that have a major supermarket every few miles, so I don''t know about how selective they're being. Should be interesting.

        2. I don't know whether this is the same concept, but I was in a smallish Tesco in suburban Manchester a couple of years ago. It was somewhere between a big convenience store and very small supermarket. And it was nothing special.

          The go to markets in the UK were Waitrose, Sainsbury's, and the Marks & Spencer St. Michael products.

          1. Tesco is a UK based food retailer, probably the third largest supermarket chain in the world. They do a phenomenal job compared to most of the US based megachains.

            They have a very strong presence on the web and post prices.

            They do a great job and will do quite well.

            2 Replies
            1. re: jlawrence01

              Your remarks are very encouraging, jlawrence01, and I am anxious to try this new market in a few months.

              1. re: liu

                Hi liu, there are two going in the Phoenix area soon, too. They'll be focusing on fresh, premade foods, i.e., hot bars, salad bars, etc. And individually packaged prepared foods. Higher end options. Makes total sense that they'd be near Gelson's, Whole Foods, etc...that's the market they're after.

            2. Fresh and Easy markets are going to be small, about the size of a Trader Joe's. They're not just going into under-serverd communities, but they're not avoiding those communities like the major US chains seem to. They're aiming to have a lot of healthy prepared food at good prices, and they want it to be a place where people can hang out too. The LA times had a great article on them, apparently they did an extensive amount of market research. I'm looking forward to them opening...I don't always like cooking, and would love to find a place with well priced healthy prepared foods.

              2 Replies
              1. re: writergirl

                actually, here in LA they all seem to be going in right next to established supermarkets.

              2. i'm a great fan of TESCO having lived in UK for 2 years, and upon returning to australia realised our supermarkets were prehistoric. in uk they do a number of different formats, and it sounds like you are getting a "ready to go" version.

                TESCO has bumped sainsbury's from top of the UK "go to" list several years ago, and M&S have been working very hard to catch up. if you have ever been to M&S Fresh at liverpool st station in london you will know what i mean, and it sounds like this is what you are getting. if only....
                why not look at their UK website and get an impression of what they do well?

                1. Recently I learned that the Tesco promise for our neighborhood fell through.

                  Does anyone know other proposed sites in Southern California for these markets?

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: liu

                    One is set for somewhere in the Laguna Hills (OC) area. I've heard two locations mentioned, both on Moulton Parkway, so it may be just the one or could be two. I know they are also continuing to discuss a site with my landlord in Laguna Niguel.

                    1. re: liu

                      I've read several times about one coming to Escondido, in North San Diego County. Last I heard this was going to be the first SD site, and they had a lot picked out. No more news for months, though.

                      1. re: liu

                        I read in the Press Telegram awhile back about one in Long Beach and one in Lakewood sometime this fall. I've driven past the LB proposed location (Spring & Palo Verde), but have seen no signage of one coming. So perhaps these have fallen through.

                        My folks said one is opening up this fall near them in South Phoenix, so hopefully I can check that one out eventually!

                        1. re: liu

                          There is one opening in Arcadia on Foothill between Santa Anita and 1st Ave. It's occupying where a small Vons used to be. It's scheduled to open November 8 and they had some type of hiring event this past weekend.

                          1. re: liu

                            I just heard they are opening a bunch of stores here in the Coachella Valley--Palm Springs, Palm Desert, Thousand Palms, Indio, La Quinta. I hope they have something to offer that Bristol Farms and Henry's doesn't have...if not, I'm holding out for Whole Foods!

                          2. Fresh and Easy is a Tesco store but changed the name . Its the same concept and product but with a different name It sounds like it will be pretty good

                            1. I can't wait for the two F&E's coming to Lakewood. Went to Tesco in London two years ago, adorable. Marks & Spencer was better to me though but slightly different concept.

                              10 Replies
                              1. re: Oh Robin

                                Please do report back after you have shopped there. I am very curious to know how they excel and what is their attraction in this very competitive market...I'm thinking Bristol Farms, Gelson's and Whole Foods and specialty and ethnic food shops, especially in Los Angeles. Thanks!

                                1. re: liu

                                  I could be wrong, but it's my understanding that the stores are meant to be less expensive than those you listed. So maybe more along the lines of Trader Joe's? I also believe they're aiming at a broader market, demographics-wise. One of the first F&Es will be in Glassel Park (admittedly gentrifying), and another is going into Compton, for instance.

                                  1. re: Papuli

                                    Got it, Papuli! And this makes sense because I know they have huge expansion plans...of course, some that are falling through, like the one that was supposed to go into our neighborhood. I am not sure, however, how disappointed I am. Should I be?

                                    1. re: liu

                                      Well, it looks like F&E has their own website, separate from Tesco's (Tesco's you have to register on to see anything, argh; this one you don't) : http://www.freshandeasy.com/home.html
                                      It doesn't list products yet, but it does have a map of proposed locations. And there are a lot. It does seem to emphasize prepared foods. I don't know if I'll utilize it much if the prepared foods are better than the fresh items, but it is a cool concept.

                                      1. re: Papuli

                                        That's an interesting site, Papuli. I am not sure how updated it is, however. Although our neighborhood store is still listed on the map, I am pretty sure that it will not be happening...at least, at this time.
                                        I will continue to watch the map, and I thank you for this link.

                                        1. re: liu

                                          Yes. For whatever reason the site map doesn't seem to be too correct. I've been told they are in construction at a location in Laguna Hills (Moulton near the DMV) that is not on the map.

                                          1. re: Midlife

                                            It's a "wait-and-see" venture. The space near us that they were supposed to occupy is still vacant... Perhaps it is yet to happen??!!

                                            1. re: liu

                                              First store was supposed to open in November. According to the blog http://www.freshandeasy.com/blog/ they doubled their workforce last week (from 300 to 600) in preparation for the first store openings. I haven't seen that they've announced where those first openings are, though. They've had a mock store in a warehouse for testing for like a year.

                                              1. re: CrazyOne

                                                There is a store opening in West Covina on West Covina parkway across from the Mall-off the 10 and Vincent. It is scheduled to be open Nov. 8th. Anxiously awaiting as I am within 5 miles of this and it is 17 miles to Traders and 23 to a Gelsons. Will let you know.

                                                Not that it matters but walk my dog with a woman who headed up the "mock" project. Says it was quite successful.

                                  2. re: liu

                                    If you want to see what Tesco is all about, look at their website:


                                    They were one of the first supermarkets to have a viable website and they also do a lot of on-line shopping.

                                2. I saw a Fresh & Easy sign in Upland, CA, across the street from a Trader Joe's on Mountain Ave. The pretty green sign caught my eye. =P Has anyone been inside this location? I will be moving to Upland in a month and am excited with my new shopping prospects (if its worth it). Is it actually the same as Tesco in the UK? I heard about Tesco last week on NPR, and how its ironic they sent us their lower end market while we sent them Whole Foods.

                                  5 Replies
                                  1. re: avena

                                    Tesco wants to enter the US, and this is the format they think they might find a niche with. A standard supermarket is pretty well covered in the US; they'd have a hard time distinguishing themselves from all the others. I suppose they could have chosen a model that more closely competes with Whole Foods, but then Whole Foods is successful enough that they have themselves entered the UK market which is apparently lacking to some degree in that arena.

                                    I dunno, I think it makes sense. The US is the largest market Tesco doesn't already operate in. They are already in China, Japan, other parts of Europe, etc. They tailor the types of stores they open to the particular market. We'll see what happens, should be interesting. They are pretty successful. Keep in mind these guys are one of the top retailing companies in the world. Only Wal-Mart and... eh, Target? I forget who is second. Tesco is third.

                                    1. re: CrazyOne

                                      Top Global Retailers:

                                      1) WalMart
                                      2) Carrefour (FR)
                                      3) The Home Depot
                                      4) MetroAG (Ger)
                                      5) Krogers
                                      6) Tesco (UK)
                                      7) Target
                                      8) Ahold (Neth)
                                      9) Aldi (Ger)
                                      10) Costco

                                      2005 Deloitte study

                                      1. re: jlawrence01

                                        Yep. And Costco is 8 in the 2007 version of that, and Tesco is now ahead of Kroger. And apparently there are little details in Metro's and Home Depot's operations that are excluded by some measures which allows Tesco to claim to be 3.

                                        Not that it really matters here, but for the sake of completing that thought.

                                        1. re: CrazyOne

                                          american retailers should be worried, tesco in 15 years went from no 3 in three uk to no 3 in the world and will soon be no 2 over taking carrefour. If tescos get it right they will be a big force in the us within 10 years, wal-mart should watch tescos and be very worried

                                    2. Hi, Tesco are a huge and very smart retailer. They have had offices in the US for a few years planning this move. They are deliberately not taking Wallmart on directly, but believe me in a few years they will be snapping at their heels!. You will be pleased with Fresh and Easy, Tesco offer great service and great prices.
                                      As an aside, when Safeway wanted to set up an online grocery service, they worked with Tesco to set it up and used the Tesco UK model as it was the worlds most successful online grocery retailer.

                                      1. Their first store opened last week in Hemet - anyone from the area been in yet?

                                        1. went to the eagle rock location today and i dug it. posted some pics here ...

                                          Considering I live with a homesick Brit, we've been eagerly awaiting the arrival of the UK grocery giant, Tesco's, since we first heard they were setting up shop with a brand in the states more than a year ago. Today the first wave of the British invasion arrived with the grand opening of their first six CA stores. The prospect of having a local British grocer was almost too much to bear, so as soon as we could, we hopped in the car and headed east to check out the Eagle Rock store.

                                          What you may fondly remember as the 70's Lucky's on Eagle Rock & El Paso (as I do, from early grocery trips there with my uncle in his big white Caddy), is now a bright beacon of northeast LA gentrification.

                                          As one would expect on opening day, the parking lot was a bit of a zoo, but they had the good sense to have some very helpful attendants on hand. A bit smaller than your average chain grocery, the shop felt like the love child of Ralph's and Trader Joe. Though there weren't many of the Brit food items we were hoping to find, the store boasts a wonderful selection of fresh and packaged foods, primarily carrying the Fresh & Easy and From Our Kitchen labels, simply packaged and at great prices.

                                          Produce was presented in neat bins, bagged and boxed in pretty value packs. The same was the case for the pantry and baked items including some tasty cakes and fresh breads. Though they don't market themselves in the way Whole Foods does, I did notice a good number of items were organic and/or all natural. The bargain priced $1.79 large, free range, brown eggs from "hens housed in an area where they are free to run, play and nest on a diet free of antibiotics and hormones" were a nod in that direction. Same was the case with many of their meats, including the (delicious out of the broiler) beef and pepper kebabs with no added hormones or antibiotics. From what I hear, they're also introducing an entire green fleet of freight trucks.

                                          A distinctly British element was evident if you looked for it - features on watercress and arugula (rocket in the UK), goat's milk yogurt, puddings and mini-cakes, Indian takeaway frozen dinners, English cheese, and, the holy grail of Brit shopping in LA - UNCURED BRITISH BACK BACON. That's right. They carry fresh rashers. Albeit on the thin side, at $4.99 a pack, we could hardly contain ourselves and did a little dance in the aisle before stocking up!

                                          Fresh & Easy execs were amongst the crowd, clucking about like nervous hens, straightening up displays and making sure every bit of the nest was in order. It wasn't hard to pick them out of the crowd, especially given the Union Jack belt one was wearing. Another told us bringing in the British Brand Bacon was a risk they almost didn't take, but said it had been flying off the shelves with all the ex-pats coming in. She suggested we try a couple of her favorites - the Tomato Basil Soup and Blue Corn & Chili Lime Crackers. (I'd buy both again). In keeping with their mantra to "listen to the customer" we were encouraged to go online and leave a list of items we'd like to see in the future.

                                          Unlike TJ's, this is a one stop shop for all of the necessary evils - they carry everything from Tide detergent and Axe deodorant, to Coke and Pepsi. Small sections of seasonal wrapping paper in the back and greeting cards in the front seemed like a bit of an afterthought in comparison to the rest of the store, but they were enough to meet any last minute emergency needs and I imagine they'll fill out as the store settles in.

                                          Move over two buck Chuck. There may not be much of a wine section to speak of here, but they do sell Big Kahuna Shiraz for $1.99.

                                          Checking out was a bit of a surprise. All of the check out lanes are self-serve. You can scan your own items, swipe your card to pay, bag and go. No coupons, no club cards, no nonsense. On the way out they thanked us for shopping and handed us a reusable shopping bag to use on future trips, along with a coupon for $6 off our next visit. Not too shabby.

                                          All in all, this was a five star shopping experience - a well laid out and aesthetically pleasing space (wide aisles, high ceilings and polished concrete floors), quality foods, good selection, tremendous value (we left with five bags of groceries for $75!), and friendly service. And, of course, British bacon! We'll definitely be back.

                                          Keep an eye out for the next wave of stores opening in the coming months, including one at Hollywood & Sycamore.

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: saucyminx

                                            I am so envious you have them on the west coast. I could kill for a proper curry English style and goat's milk yoghurts and all the Tesco's goodies that I miss in Florida.

                                            1. re: saucyminx

                                              We went into this same Fresh & Easy a few months after they had opened. (Eagle Rock). Someone described it as reminding them of a Soviet government store and I got that feeling too even though I' ve never been in a Soviet government store. There were no huge displays of merchandise available. Most of the items seemed rather sparse.

                                              I expected to see a store with an English point of view. Instead, I was presented with a ordinary American grocery store. I wouldn't even consider them as a rival to Trader Joe's. Trader Joe's takes them down without a fight. On top of that, they don't rival the local ethnic markets on produce at all. They sell bundled produce in prepared packages which is what the 99 Cent Only Stores do -- except Fresh and Easy is more expensive!!

                                              They had imitation crab cerviche for "who knows what a pound.. You can get real fish cerviche for about $5 a pound at Vallarte Markets.

                                              I walked out of the store totally unimpressed. I doubt the Eagle Rock store will last more than a couple of years.

                                              If they want it to survive, they need to create more of an "ethnic market" out of it. They are English so they should play that English up high.

                                              1. re: graysi

                                                Hi, graysi!
                                                The Fresh & Easy in our neighborhood has been open for more than a year now...almost two. I did not like it when it first opened, but I thought that I would check it out again. I walked in and out with my hands empty.
                                                I quite agree with everything you have said about it; as it is, I don't know how it can stay.

                                            2. Just returned from our new store in Henderson, NV. It wasn't bad. We just stopped in to grab a few items needed for our curry. They seem to be in between a Trader Joe's & your regular chain supermarket. Most of the prices were better than TJ's & they had an awesome deal on pure vanilla extract! All of their produce and meats looked quite good & were also priced well. I can't wait until they open a brand new location just 2 blocks away in early '08. I'll keep you posted on future finds...

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: dbug31

                                                Visited their new Summerlin store. More bodega-like than any other Las Vegas grocery (and with a uniformed security guard at the door - ?!) -small space with no in-store bakery, meat counter, etc - and lots of single-unit sizes. If you like getting in and out of a store fast, or if you experience sensory overload at Albertsons, F & E seems like a good pick.

                                                The selection was fine but not exotic - the main international items I saw were things like fideo noodles in the pasta section and fresh chorizo in the meats. Produce was displayed in bins but almost all prepackaged, and the bakery had a wide selection of single-serve prepackaged items.

                                                Next time I drive out of my way for groceries I'll probably go to Sunflower, but if I wanted to stop in on the way to work to pick up packaged stuff for lunch and get in and out fast, Fresh & Easy would do the job.

                                              2. A few months ago, a Fresh and Easy Market opened in my community. Not being familiar with this market, I decided to do some marketing. Driving into the parking lot, I noticed it was empty except for a few Toyota hybrids, Land Rovers, Volvos and Saabs parked on the lot. When I walked in, the checkstands were empty and no one was buying anything. There were a few people walking around. I noticed the poor selection of fruits and produce while the price of a loaf of bread was nearly six dollars. That alone told me what I needed to know. The market itself, had a feeling of being more of a government food bank then our friendly American markets such as Vons and Ralphs. I found the people to be very friendly and that encouraged me to ask a clerk what is their selling point. It all came down to their discount prices. Tesco may well work in the communities of London where food is sparce. But in California we are spoiled by the large selections of fresh foods. Every major market in California provides us a selection of ethnicticity and I did not see that in F&EM. Tesco needs to read it's demographics more closely.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: CrazyOne

                                                  I found a Tesco in London ten years ago in London and found that it compared very well to any of the large chains in Socal. Better quality, excellent food, and a well thought out layout. Wish that we had discovered it a few days earlier.

                                                2. I stopped in this morning at Fresh and Easy...I've been 4-5 times now since they've openen not so far from my house in Phoenix. There's one that will be opening soon right on my way home from work so I"m sure I'll be stopping in there frequently.

                                                  So far, there's a lot I like about them. First off they ARE easy...easy in/easy out. I can get in and out in about ten minutes. I don't mind the self-check. I like the nice wide aisles. The packaging is a bit jarring but it does make it easy to see everything that is available. Here so far, they are doing a good job of keeping the stores stocked and clean.

                                                  We buy very little prepared food which apparently is supposed to be a lot of their business...Can't speak to the quality and price of this. We love the Voskos yogurt they carry and they have it in the 6oz size so it's convenient for my husbands lunches. This is what's been bringing me back but when I'm there I pick up whatever staples I also need: eggs, fruits, maybe a few vegs(I'm not crazy about the packaging of the veggies but must admit the quality of everything has been very good so far in spite of the plastic tub and wrap), some chopped nuts for baking, flour, etc. Prices are very competetive.

                                                  We have lots of options in Phoenix fortunately...I'm not particularly loyal to anyone though I very rarely shop the big mass market grocers(Safeway, Albertson, etc)...this is a good addition I think. I like Trader Joe's and have shopped there for years and years and years in CA, WA and now AZ...but it's not terribly convenient for me here...I can see the Fresh and Easy replacing many of my Trader Joe's trips just out of convenience since they offer a lot of the same things I buy at TJs(yogurt, butter, milk, eggs) at competive pricing and I can just pick up on my way home from work without making a special trip...

                                                  But then what do I know...I happen to also drive a Saab. ;)

                                                  1. From my first visit in Lakewood, it looks like Fresh and Easy has done their research well.

                                                    One question, is there going to be a "Please Carry" form for products I'd like a store to carry?.

                                                    (I want some nonfat plain yogurt with no added gelatin, etc. in at least a 16 oz size, not the $$$ Greek tubs but an every day type).

                                                    1. I loved them when we were in Europe last summer!!


                                                        1. Does anyone know if they are still planning to open in Orcutt (Santa Maria). There was a plan off of Bradley in 2008, but haven't seen anything since.

                                                          1. I've checked out my local F&E, some very good values on their marked down pre-packaged meals, no preservatives, but the salt content is enough to put anyone at risk of high blood pressure, check the salt content before you buy.