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Fresh & Easy to close up shop?

It's hit the news today that Tesco is considering exiting the US, which would likely mean shuttering its Fresh & Easy grocery chain.

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    1. Fresh & Easy is convenient to my father's winter home in Arizona and he shops there occasionally but I doubt if he would really miss it. There are so many other places to shop in that area that I'm not surprised F&E could not compete.

      3 Replies
      1. re: John E.

        In that respect I think Tesco chose poorly. They put F&E in one of the most competitive markets for grocery stores (Phoenix, at least 7 major chains, and California, also very competitive). Instead, they should have chosen a market like Florida, where Publix has a near-monopoly and another choice would likely be welcomed by consumers.

        1. re: aynrandgirl

          It's a bit sad ; ) but one of the things I like about visiting Arizona is all of the options for grocery shopping. The restaurants in Mesa are mostly not anything to envy however.

        2. re: John E.

          Several have already closed in Arizona.

        3. The one by me is usually fairly busy. I will throw such a big temper tantrum if they close it. I am addicted to their guacamole and their boxed Spanish rice.

          1. That would disappoint me. F&E is a helpful place for me to pick up some slightly nicer prepared foods than I can get at other stores. I have a bizarre schedule much of the time and don't always have time to cook for just myself and F&E has filled a gap. There used to be one just up the street from me, but it closed about 1.5 years ago. The remaining one in my home area is somewhat inconvenient to get to, but I do manage to make it there once a week and it always seems moderately busy.

            1 Reply
            1. re: laskiblue

              "F&E has flled a gap"
              That's it--couldn't figure out exactly why I find F & E okay, but not enough for me. It does fill an "occasional" gap, but just not well stocked enough to take the place of a full-on grocery store.

            2. unsurprising, their selection is terrible.

              8 Replies
              1. re: olyolyy

                I don't think they ever intended to be a full-service grocery store with a large selection of anything.

                1. re: olyolyy

                  I agree, the selection is terrible and the one I checked out most of the produce was prewrapped in plastic.

                  1. re: rasputina

                    The reason for prewrapping is so they -and you- don't have to weigh items at the checkout. Another way to save on cost: they know the inventory exactly and there is no 'waste'. Each package weighs more than the stated weight. All the prepackaged (and even individual) produce has a 'pull' date sticker on it.

                    1. re: Cathy

                      I don't need a bunch of extra packaging to buy some fresh fruit. Additionally, it limits your options in picking the fruit. I can't imagine that it saves costs for them to pay someone to prepackage the fruit vs weighing it at checkout.

                      1. re: rasputina

                        It saves Trader Joe's and Costco to pre-pack and pre-weigh. Less people handling, damaging and 'tasting' items without purchasing.

                        Also the Department of Weights and Measures can just test the weight of a package instead of testing each scale at the checkout. The scales don't have to be recalibrated daily; another cost that's passed on to you by grocers.

                        In addition, the consumer scans a bar code a the register and does not have to remember, look up or incorrectly input a number.

                        Many pieces of fruit and vegetables are sold as singles, each with its own barcode.

                        1. re: Cathy

                          Aldi packages produce in the same manner. It means each store does not need a produce guy trimming and taking care of the produce. The same situation happens with the meat at Walmart. There are no meat cutters in the back. All of the meat comes to the store prepackaged.

                          1. re: Cathy

                            The majority of Costco's fresh produce comes in flats or bags and they are sold at one price not by weight. In the case of pineapples, they are sold individually.

                            I haven't been to Trader Joes in years but from what I remember then the produce was all sold the same as in a normal grocery store. You bag what you want and they weigh at check out. Maybe it's changed, I don't know.

                            1. re: rasputina

                              It has changed. TJ's sells some fruit by the piece, but most produce is packaged and sold by pack, not weight. They do not have scales at the register

                  2. This is sad. The stores -like the neighborhood market you could walk to to and shop instead of driving to a larger 'super' market- were put into long empty malls, revitalizing those parts of town that were abandoned due to the economy (other stores then moved into those empty malls) and built with energy efficiency -LED lighting and energy efficient refrigerators.

                    Those energy savings are reflected in lower prices. Checking out yourself also saves money.

                    The F&E products aren't made with corn syrup, trans fats, artificial colors or artificial flavors. The addition of bakeries in all the stores means you can walk in and get a loaf of bread or pastries baked that morning.

                    They schedule their deliveries to not interfere with activities in the local neighborhood, and participate with neighborhood school fundraisers and donate to local charities.

                    It's an old fashioned way of business which serves a purpose and just sad that people don't realize it.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Cathy

                      I am not surprised but I will miss it. Some items they carry are high quality and cannot be bought elsewhere. They opened up two stores in my area, one within the last year or so which was bold considering the first store was doing only mediocre.

                    2. Tesco misread the market. We want our stores to be called "Fresh & Easy" but we still want them filled with junk food.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: ferret

                        They had way too many "convenient" prepared meals which didn't jive with the US market.

                        1. re: olyolyy

                          Can you provide examples? I'm not trying to put you on the defensive. I'm just curious about how they might have misjudged the American market. I only went to F&E a few times with my father while visiting Arizona and then we were usually just buying either fresh meat of some kind or beer. (I do remember that their salsa was passable).

                          1. re: John E.

                            they have two whole aisles dedicated to premade meals, which I never found appealing.

                      2. I'm not a fan.
                        but love Tesco.

                        1. The 3 or so times I went to F&E i was COMPLETELY underwhelmed, I am only suprised that they lasted so long.

                          1. I'm also surprised it lasted this long. Judging by where some of the stores were located, I think they tried to appeal to the lower economic class. The 2 stores I 've been to were not that clean or well laid out. I also don't like self-checkout. I did not go through them that thoroughly and wasn't aware of their prepared foods. I might have tried some.

                            1. its a bummer. it was easy on the pocket book and it had it's place.

                              1. I find them very helpful in being able to buy a single gallon of milk and they have flowers that last 2 weeks. They fill a need for some. Me, I shop at all the area stores, Vons, Albertsons, Save Mart.

                                1. Hi! I'm new here, and have been lurking for a few days, but I had to answer this post...

                                  I'm in the San Diego area, and F&E announced maybe a couple months ago, that they're adding a new store in Mission Valley, so at least in this market, it seems to still be a go.

                                  1. Fresh & Easy just announced that they're being sold to The Yucaipa Companies


                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: JerryMe

                                      I really hope the Northridge,CA one doesn't close. I do about 80% of my grocery shopping there. The next closest one is a nightmare to get in and out of.

                                      I need my F&E guacamole, dangit!

                                    2. Really? That's a shame. There's one near me and I use it every so often. I live in Phoenix, btw.
                                      However, it won't send me into a tailaspin, as John E. noted, there is a huge and fantastic selection of grocery stores around.

                                      5 Replies
                                      1. re: alliegator

                                        I don't know if / when they're closing the stores. Yucaipa may keep them open. I use the ones near me on occasion as well. I'm also in the Valley.

                                        We are lucky to have so many other options. My latest love is Winco.

                                        1. re: JerryMe

                                          I have a feeling the one closest to me may be done away with if they closed more. There's a Sprouts at the same intersection.
                                          I've only been here 6 months, I think my love affair with AJ's will never end, but I will have to track down a Winco. Thanks for making me aware of it!

                                          1. re: alliegator

                                            My love for AJ's ended when I found out about this


                                            Winco is no AJ's but they've covered a lot of food that were new (to me) and at great prices.

                                            1. re: JerryMe

                                              When I've been in Arizona, we've gone to AJ's a few times, but I know we've never bought any Kobe beer there. The regular beef is more than I want to spend on meat.

                                              I too like Winco. It's an interesting store with good prices.

                                          2. re: JerryMe

                                            The letter (link above) says that Yucaipa is preserving 4000+ jobs.

                                            I read one news story that one Las Vegas location will close (there are 38 locations there).

                                        2. Here's another news story from San Diego.


                                          They haven't released a full list of store closures, but this article says they will close 50 of the 200 stores.

                                          I don't really shop there that often, but it's nice to have an alternative to Safeway in our town.

                                          1. I have a European friend who was just ecstatic when they first opened so I drove a bit to see what she was glowing about. I thought it was fine and I guess I'd shop there from time to time if one were closer to me.

                                            I admired their original model which I understood to be bringing the advantages of a major chain to under served people in lower scale demographic areas with prices that better reflected their needs. But that meant locating them where more affluent shoppers weren't going. So I guess cutting out that important revenue stream sorta sealed their eventual fate.

                                            It's a shame. Especially for middle and lower income people who will be forced to pay higher prices and probably get lower quality on prepared foods.