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Fresh & Easy May Close Stores

The British-based grocery chain prepares to pull the plug on its 199 U.S. supermarkets. Offers to buy the chain are already surfacing.

Updated at 5:30 p.m. with statement from Fresh & Easy.

The British are leaving, the British are leaving!

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

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

Analysts said the recession was partly to blame—Fresh & Easy debuted in California, Nevada and Arizona in 2007, just as the economy began to tank. But, ultimately, shoppers 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."

A statement from Fresh & Easy sent to Mountain View Patch said that their "focus remains on our people and our customers. It is business as usual in our stores and we look forward to bringing our neighbors the same delicious, wholesome and affordable food they have come to expect from Fresh & Easy."

Offers to buy all or part of the chain are already trickling in, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times.

In the San Francisco Bay Area, Fresh & Easy's locations include Mountain View, Pacifica, Napa, Sunnyvale, two in Hayward and three each in San Jose and San Francisco.

Don't miss a thing in Mountain View!

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Harry Gordon December 05, 2012 at 10:15 PM
I was pleased when the Fresh & Easy store opened on Rengstorff, a short walk from my home. I still do my primary shopping at Whole Foods but alternate fill-in trips to F&E. I like the store except for the self-checkout, which is annoying. Something always seems to misfire, and it is embarrassing to have to get help. They would probably get more business if they had at least one regular checkout line. We waited a long time for a grocery to open at Monta Loma Plaza, and I would hate to see it close.
Claudia Cruz (Editor) December 05, 2012 at 10:45 PM
Thanks for sharing Harry. I'm sure you are not the only one that would miss F&E (even with their "misfires") if they were to leave that location. What did you think about the prepared foods? Also, living so close to F&E, why did you still shop at Whole Foods?
Paul W December 06, 2012 at 06:21 AM
A pity. I absolutely love their Lobster Mac & Cheese, as well as their pre-packaged dried fruits.
Tori Alcala-Martini December 06, 2012 at 06:29 AM
It would be a shame if the doors would close, we are their at least once a day. I love the size of the store, the staff are amazing, They all know my name and my 2.5yro. We are a family of 4 on a budget and we eat healthy due to their great prices and coupons. It's a pity that americans rely on name brands, max pack, and the need to have someone bag their groceries. I like that I can do it myself, at least I pack them the way I like. We love the variety of ethnic food (simmer sauce) and ready made food. My little guy would miss his chocolate milk and helping mommy check out.
Claudia Cruz (Editor) December 06, 2012 at 07:02 AM
Oooh, lobster mac & cheese! I'm going to get some tomorrow.
Claudia Cruz (Editor) December 06, 2012 at 07:07 AM
Tori! That's where I met you! On the day they opened! Ha, ha! I remember you telling me how you walk there because it's close to your house. I'll see if I can get stats on how the MV store has been doing. Maybe they'll keep some open, while closing others.
Mike Kasperzak December 06, 2012 at 04:38 PM
It would be a huge loss for Mountain View and the Monta Loma neighborhood if this store had to close. Lets keep doing business there so corporate and/or an suitor sees what great business this location does.
Paige Cristine December 07, 2012 at 06:05 AM
I love shopping at Fresh & Easy Mountain View and would be bummed to see it go. I was excited when they opened in January and especially happy to see they carry such a great selection of gluten free products.
Jim Anderson December 10, 2012 at 03:26 AM
I just noticed they are working on opening a new store in Sunnyvale (Mary @ Fremont). It doesn't add up that they would be opening new stores while planning on shutting down the entire chain. I've had mixed feelings when shopping there. Some items have really good prices and I think their idea of daily specials for fresh items nearing expiration is a great idea. Their french bread is good and inexpensive. But ultimately they usually don't have everything I need. It feels like usually when I go there I end up having to go to another market as well to get all of the ingredients for whatever dish I am preparing that day. I do hope they stick around.
Annamaria Farbizio December 10, 2012 at 08:07 AM
I absolutely love Fresh and Easy. My husband and I shop there almost exclusively now and it will be a huge loss to us if they close. Their prices and selection are excellent. We've saved over $50 a week on our grocery bill since we started to go there regularly a few weeks after they opened.

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