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Fresh & Easy Considers Closing All Stores

The British-owned grocery chain cites lack of profit as a reason for contemplating pulling out of the American market. Fresh & Easy has 19 stores in the Bay Area, including two in Hayward.

Fresh & Easy is going stale.

The grocery chain owned and operated by British supermarket giant Tesco could be shut down due to meager sales, according to company officials.

At this point, all 199 stores in the U.S. — with 19 locations in the Bay Area, including two in Hayward and one in Pleasanton in the East Bay — could be sold, closed or offered up to new partners, Chief Executive Officer Philip Clarke said, as reported by Bloomberg

Many Union City residents shop at the Fresh & Easy located at 31049 Mission Blvd. in Fairway Park where local schools are participating in the "Shop for Schools" fundraising contest. The other Hayward store is located at 19691 Hesperian Blvd. near San Lorenzo.

There were reports last year that the chain was eyeing a location in Fremont, as well.

The "Neighborhood Markets" began rolling out stores in the Bay Area in early 2011, after opening the first Fresh and Easy in Southern California in January of 2007. 

Fresh and Easy intended to set themselves apart with relatively small grocery stores, self-service-only check-outs, and variety of prepared meals ready-to-go without preservatives. The stores would also stock imported fare, like British candy bars, baked beans, teas and "biscuits" — or cookies, to Americans.

The aim was to establish a "post-melting-pot" grocery store that "reflected the wide diversity of the U.S. market and U.S. consumers," Fresh & Easy chief executive Tim Mason told the San Francisco Chronicle back in 2010.

However, the special items haven't been enough to draw a significant U.S. customer base, and opting for smaller stores as a way to differentiate the company may have backfired. 

Fresh and Easy representatives say that the stores will continue to operate as usual until a decision is made.

Why do you think Fresh & Easy has struggled in the U.S. market? Share your experiences and thoughts in the comments below.

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Katy December 13, 2012 at 11:07 PM
I will be sorry to see ours go, I really liked the prepared meals but as many have said I didn't realize they were free of preservatives, etc. that is a great selling point that i am sure would make a difference for some. I am British and was so excited to be going in to buy some home comforts but their selection was very limited, I have a lot more choice at Cost Plus so I guess I will be going back there. What a shame it didn't work out for them.
Diane Griego January 01, 2013 at 01:06 AM
Not enough advertisement or locations. Love the store, please dont close.
Diane Griego January 01, 2013 at 01:09 AM
Not enough advertisement or locations. Love the food and concept, please dont close. We need healthy alternatives for families who dont rip us off.
nanomole39 January 24, 2013 at 10:42 PM
please help save fresh and easy :http://www.change.org/petitions/fresh-and-easy-keep-fresh-and-easy-stores-open?
Bill Edge July 21, 2013 at 11:38 AM
I do not buy a lot at the Hayward store, but the 80/20 ground chuck is fresher an lasts longer then Safeway or Lucky. Price is better and the $4.99 boneless NY steaks are not bad. In a pinch I get the $2.99 pizza.

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