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Fresh & Easy to Close SoCal Stores

The British-based grocery chain prepares to pull the plug on its 199 U.S. markets.

The British are leaving, the British are leaving!

Fresh & Easy stores in Southern California and beyond will soon be closed or sold, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.

Owned by Britain's Tesco, the 199-market chain never quite caught on with American consumers.

"We’re considering all options for the business, but it’s likely that the review will lead to Tesco exiting the US market," wrote chief executive Philip Clarke in a blog post on the company website.

Analysts said the recession was partly to blame -- Fresh & Easy debuted in California, Nevada and Arizona in 2007, just as the economy was tanking. But, ultimately, consumers didn't warm to the concept.

"Though it attracted a small group of loyalists, Fresh & Easy largely failed to capture the imagination of American consumers who proved unaccustomed to British-style ready meals, self-service cash registers and unfamiliar store layouts," the Journal said.

Tesco's CEO told the paper: "It's likely, but not certain, that our presence in America will come to an end."

In Los Angeles County, the chain has locations in Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, Palos Verdes Estates, Long BeachPico-Robertson, Encino, Hollywood, Northridge, Eagle Rock, Oak Park, North Hollywood, Van Nuys, and many more

Judith December 05, 2012 at 11:12 PM
Yeesh - they just opened a store in Encino less than a month ago!
george December 05, 2012 at 11:36 PM
It's more like consumers didn't warm to the crowded isles, over-packaged food, and plastic bags only at the check out.
Lynne Gerre December 06, 2012 at 02:20 AM
Couldn't figure it out - 7-11 or Smart and Final. Very strange store.
norval December 06, 2012 at 02:25 AM
Norval WOW, what do I do know, my favroite. I am single and old and this is great place for me. I can find food in small amounts and great frozen food. The help are great people and I have met most of them. SORRY GOOD BY WILL MISS YOU
Richard Heller December 06, 2012 at 03:37 AM
I've been to the Tesco's in the UK and I liked them quite a bit. Their selection of products always leaned towards the finest and they had a good representation of basically everything you might need in a pinch. Yes, it took a bit of thought to check out, but by my 2nd visit it was no big deal. Shopping habits are very difficult to dislodge, but it can be done. Tesco offers a superior product in a nice environment. It's unfortunate that they did not have either the marketing wherewithal or financial commitment to make a go of it. Quitters never win.
Punky December 06, 2012 at 04:30 AM
The F&E on Eagle Rock Blvd is always crowded. Aesthetically it is pretty ugly n dreary (British?), but they have increasingly been getting more n more organic produce n products They also sell these items at a lower $ than most stores: cheese, Amy's organic frozen products, organic tortilla chips, fair trade organic coffee, organic crackers, org trail mix organic coconut, almond, and soy milk, and awesome price on chilled Piper-Sonoma champagne. I hate to see the F&E close on Eagle Rock Blvd. I hope/expect that another neighborhood-friendly market will open up in the future......plus it's a gold mine location!
Rebecca Sanchez December 06, 2012 at 06:29 AM
I love Tesco's in the UK. Sad about Fresh and Easy. Don't have to use their plastic bags, most people bring their own bags. Never had a problem with the aisles being crowded either.
JesusChristheals December 06, 2012 at 03:08 PM
that is what I was thinking. Were Rite Aid use to be across from IHOP I was planning on going in to Fresh and Easy.
JesusChristheals December 06, 2012 at 03:10 PM
Trader Joes Whole Foods Sprouts.
Suzanne December 06, 2012 at 03:15 PM
I don't usually shop here, but I recently discovered the fair trade organic coffees at a better price than TJs. Guess I better stock up....
Joseph December 06, 2012 at 04:12 PM
We did a majority of our shopping at F&E. I liked it. A lot better then TJ IMO.
Iron Lady December 06, 2012 at 04:38 PM
I agree. Eagle Rock store is always full. Their produce is mostly locally sourced. The ready made meals are cheaper than Trader Joe's. Nothing beats family meals for $10 or less!
Erin Grace Nolan-Smith December 06, 2012 at 04:42 PM
No!!!! I love Fresh & Easy! This was the only place my family could afford to shop at!!! Their coupon and rewards programs are awesome! Damn it!
Maggie December 06, 2012 at 06:22 PM
I was never a fan of the big F&E stores - they were very dreary and drab in appearance. But the new F&E Express in Encino has become my favorite instantly! Great prices, good food (unlike 7-11, which is all junk), great a for a quick stop to get lunches for the school and work day. I think they should keep the little Express stores, and get rid of the bigger ones...
NoHoAdjacent December 06, 2012 at 06:34 PM
I've got my Trader Joe's, I've never has the need for F&E.
CeeGee December 06, 2012 at 09:34 PM
LOVE my Burbank F&E. Everything about it! It's where I do all my shopping, and last night, after reading this article, I was at the store almost in tears.
Michael Blanchard December 06, 2012 at 10:25 PM
I would shop at Fresh & Easy in Eagle Rock and sometimes Pasadena, now and then, mostly when they participated in fundraisers for my son's public school. I much prefer Trader Joe's, though, and there were very few things F&E had I couldn't find there. I've also recently become enamored of Organix, the new local market on Colorado near Tommy's and Blue Hen, which is a sister store to Figueroa Produce. I applaud the pluck of anyone who enters the grocery fray as an independent, and it's clear these guys really do care what their customers want. If you haven't yet, I encourage you to check them out.
Yami December 06, 2012 at 11:01 PM
...crowded "aisles" WHAT !!! WHERE!!! r u kiddin? Maybe on Grand Opening Day, but thats it ! I like them, for the chips & rolls, and pre-packaged stuff
Yami December 06, 2012 at 11:08 PM
...I had to drop down to the "Food 4 Less" level, cause of pay. I had shopped at F & E prior, but was getting more bang 4 the buck at F 4 Less. Now I'll have to go back to F & E, to support them
Kathy December 07, 2012 at 12:01 AM
I went to F&E when they first opened, but e-gad....produce in sealed bags, steak to touch to chew, and high-sodium packaged food. Plus the insult of having to check yourself out.......I never went there again.
Mr. jepg December 07, 2012 at 12:29 AM
they should have picked a lane. either go straight for the TJs model - with proper pay and benefits. Or go quick fast cheap. to quote the karate kid... "walk on right side road - safe, walk in left side road - safe, walk in middle squish - just like grape."
Punky December 07, 2012 at 02:49 AM
I agree Michael, Organix rocks!
Do Something December 09, 2012 at 07:25 PM
Down goes the anti-union F&E in America!
Do Something December 09, 2012 at 07:35 PM
Much agreed, Michael, with virtually everything that you said!

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