Friday, December 25, 2009

It's 'British Invasion: The Sequel Down Under' For Former Tesco Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market Director of Grocery Charlotte Maxwell

Fresh & Easy Buzz was the first publication to report in this September 22, 2008 story [Key Personnel Breaking News: Co-Vice President of Retail Operations Brian Pugh No Longer Employed At Tesco Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market] that former co-vice president of operations Brian Pugh was leaving his position at Tesco's Fresh & Easy and Tesco plc.

Brian Pugh was a key executive for Tesco plc before being tapped to be one of the handful of Tesco executives from the United Kingdom sent to the United States to start up its Fresh & Easy small-format grocery and fresh foods chain in Southern California in 2006. The first Fresh & Easy markets opened in November 2007. There are now 131 Fresh & Easy stores open in Southern California, Arizona and Nevada.

Fresh & Easy Buzz was also the first publication (that we can find) to report in this December 22, 2008 story [Breaking News: Mega-Drug Chain Walgreens Hires Former Tesco Fresh & Easy USA VP of Operations Brian Pugh For New VP of Format Development Position] that the former Tesco Fresh & Easy co-president of operations had landed a new position as vice president of format development at the mega-U.S. drug store chain Walgreens.

Mr. Pugh was promoted by Walgreens to the position of corporate vice president of merchandising (a position he currently holds) just a few months after being hired, as we reported in this March 2, 2009 story: Walgreens Promotes Former Tesco Fresh & Easy Exec Bryan Pough to VP Merchandising Position; Move Fits Drug Chain's Current Strategic Focus.

Prior to March of 2008 Brian Pugh held the position of vice president of operations at Tesco's El Segundo, California-based Fresh & Easy USA.

However, as we reported in this March 12, 2008 story [Breaking News: Tesco plc. Makes Major Personnel Change to Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market USA Senior Management Team], that changed when Tesco plc decided to transfer Jeff Adams, the former CEO of its Tesco-Lotus unit in Thailand, to Fresh & Easy USA to share senior retail operational duties with Mr. Pugh. [Suggested reading - May 29, 2008: Tesco Makes Official Announcement of Jeff Adams' Title and Position at Fresh & Easy Corporate; Confirms Our Report of March 12.]

Charlotte Maxwell: Part of the British Invasion Down Under

Earlier in this August 17, 2008 story [Special Report: Tesco Fresh & Easy's Director of Grocery Returning to the UK; Grocery Chain Reorganizing its Corporate Buying Department] Fresh & Easy Buzz was the first to report exclusively that Charlotte Maxwell, a nine-year Tesco plc executive and the former director of grocery at Tesco's Fresh & Easy USA for close to three years, was leaving her top position at Fresh & Easy headquarters in Southern California to return to Tesco plc's global headquarters in the United Kingdom.

Ms. Maxwell's departure from the top grocery merchandising job at Tesco's Fresh & Easy came amidst what we called in this August 17, 2008 story [ Special Report: Tesco Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market Experiencing A Category Manager and Buyer 'Brain Drain'] a category manager and grocery buyer "Brain Drain" at Tesco's Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market's corporate headquarters in El Segundo, California.

Unlike former Tesco Fresh & Easy co-vice president of retail operations Brian Pugh, who left Tesco plc completely and not just its Fresh & Easy USA unit, former Tesco plc executive and Fresh & Easy USA director of grocery Charlotte Maxwell did return to Tesco and its global corporate headquarters in Cheshunt, Herts, England in the United Kingdom.

Her stay there didn't last long though.

We can now report that Charlotte Maxwell, like Brian Pugh, no longer is employed by Tesco plc.

In April of 2009 Ms. Maxwell joined the Coles supermarket chain in Australia as its new general manager of deli/bakery, which is the senior merchandising and buying position for the deli and bakery categories at the chain.

In 2008 and again in early 2009 Coles, which is Australia's second-largest food retailer after the Woolworths chain, tapped Charlotte Maxwell (in her case in early 2009), along with an entire team of former British supermarket chain executives, category managers and others, as part of a five-year strategic turn-around strategy being implemented by the board of directors of Coles' parent company, Westfarmers. Not too many years ago Coles held the number one market share position in Australia but was overtaken by Woolworths, which is something the board wants to change.

The turnaround effort is being led by Brit Ian MCLeod, who is a former executive with Asda, the number two supermarket chain in the United Kingdom after number one Tesco.

Another British grocery retailing veteran, turnaround specialist Archie Norman who is given much credit for the turnaround of the Walmart Stores, Inc.-owned Asda chain in the United Kingdom, is assisting in Coles' turnaround strategy, working with MCLeod in the position of "chief coach," a consulting capacity.

Former Tesco and Fresh & Easy USA executive Charlotte Maxwell is among a group of numerous Brits now at Coles' corporate headquarters in Australia. This group includes veterans from the United Kingdom's top three supermarket chains: Tesco, Asda and Sanisbury's. Many in the Australian food and grocery industry are calling it the "British invasion of Coles." We sot of like "British Invasion: The Sequel."

And the British food and grocery retailing vets transplanted to Coles in Australia look to be very busy, according to a brief report in Tuesday's (December 23) Herald Sun newspaper headlined: "Supermaket giant Coles accused of crunching suppliers with new campaign."

Here's the report (in italics):

Supermaket giant Coles accused of crunching suppliers with new campaign

SUPERMARKET giant Coles has been accused of launching a new campaign that strips profits from struggling suppliers.

A new management team recruited from UK supermarket chain Tesco has been blamed for the profit grab, which has seen Coles axe some branded lines that compete with its own private labels.

Suppliers say Coles is demanding big increases in payments for shelf space, playing cheap, low-quality imports off against local companies to force their prices down and asking suppliers to take a big hit on payments to subsidise the refurbishment of Coles' stores.

Coles has rejected the "wild" accusations. A spokesman said the chain sought to "strike a balance between paying sustainable prices to suppliers, and ensuring customers get the best possible prices in our stores".

But a food manufacturer who deals with local farmers said the new Coles management had been "ruthless", demanded "premium product for Chinese prices" and played several tricks during negotiations.

It appears the British invaders are stirring things up a bit down under.

Life After (Tesco's) Fresh & Easy

Neither Tesco plc or Tesco's Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market USA announced the departures of either Charlotte Maxwell or Brian Pugh when each respectively left Fresh & Easy headquarters in Southern California. That's not an unusual phenonmenon though, and certainly not exclusive to Tesco.

But both Mr. Pough and Ms. Maxwell were key in setting up Tesco's U.S. Fresh & Easy chain just three years ago -part of that select team of pioneers or "British Invaders" if you will - And now both are no longer employed by Tesco plc.

We aren't suggesting anything nefarious about the departure's of these former key Tesco employees. It happens.

It is an interesting phenomenon though since both were key Tesco plc executives prior to the establishment of Fresh & Easy USA, which has been a less than stellar venture for Tesco thus far, and now both are not only gone from Fresh & Easy but also from Tesco plc.

But we won't go as far as to suggest there exists anything like a "Fresh & Easy curse" for former key Tesco plc executives who, like those British pioneers of history, came to the former colony of America to stake their claim.

But as many of us know - a start up can be a cruel mistress or master, as has been the case at Tesco's Fresh & Easy USA. But in the case of Mr. Pugh and Ms. Maxwell, it appears they've both landed well - one (Mr. Pugh) with the leading U.S. drug store chain, Walgreens, and the other (Ms. Maxwell) with Australia's second-largest supermarket chain, Coles.

'British Invasion: The Sequel Down Under'

And in the case of Charlotte Maxwell, it's "British Invasion: The Sequel Down Under," in part. Having spent nearly three years as one of a group of Tesco plc senior executives starting up the Fresh & Easy chain in the Western U.S. - a move that's often been dubbed in the media as the "British Invasion" of U.S food and grocery retailing, she's now part of a group of British retail food and grocery retailing veterans who have parachuted (or invaded) into australia to lead the turnaround of that country's second-largest grocery chain.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Wither Walmart's Small-Format 'marketside' Stores and Format?

Walmart Stores, Inc. has eliminated its Web Site for the four 'marketside' (now named 'marketside by Walmart') small-format grocery and fresh foods markets it operates in the Phoenix, Arizona Metropolitan region and replaced it with a single Web Page introducing the company's new line of 'marketside' store brand foods products, which are named after the fresh foods-focused format stores in Arizona.

The Web address for the 'marketside' retail store chain is But that Web Address now contains only this Web Page offering a graphic and headline about the new 'marketside' store brand food products, along with a comment box asking readers to e-mail any comments about the new store brand line to Walmart.

If you click the link on any past stories about Walmart's 'marketside' stores in Fresh & Easy Buzz it will take you to the new 'marketside' store brand product line Web Page. The old 'marketside' retail stores' Web Site is gone. And based on our research, Wal-Mart has not moved it to another Web Address. The photograph at the top of this September, 2008 story in Fresh & Easy Buzz is from the no longer existing 'marketside' retail stores' Web Site.

Walmart Stores, Inc. does include 'marketside,' along with its other corporate retail formats, on this page on its corporate Web site. Ironically though, as you can see at the link, the store pictured still has the old 'marketside' (only) sign on it rather than 'marketside by Walmart,' which the stores are now called.

Walmart opened the four 'marketside' combination grocery and fresh foods markets on October 4, 2008 in the suburban Phoenix, Arizona cities of Glibert, Chandler, Mesa and Tempe.

In addition to these four initial test stores, Walmart had planned to open an additional 'marketside' store in Peoria, Arizona, also in the Phoenix Metropolitan region.

Up to five additional 'marketside' test stores were planned for the San Diego region in Southern California. The Peoria, Arizona 'marketside' and at least two of the San Diego region stores - one in San Diego and the other in nearby Oceanside - were originally slated to be open by now based on the retailer's initial strategic plan.

However, earlier this year Walmart announced it was postponing the opening of any additional 'marketside' stores until further announcement.

Shortly after this announcement Wal-Mart confirmed it would introduce the first of its food products under the 'marketside' store brand this year. It has started doing so. The first 'marketside' branded item is an upscale prepared pizza.

This summer Walmart added the 'Walmart' name to the four Arizona 'marketside' stores, changing the original 'marketside' (only) signage on the stores to new signs reading 'marketside by Walmart,' and bearing the Walmart logo. This was a departure from the retailer's original strategy which was to not associate the Walmart name with the 'marketside' stores, instead positioning them as a free-standing entity.

Walmart also set up a corporate office for the 'marketside' stores in Tempe, Arizona. That facility and the four 'marketside' stores remain operating.

Wither 'marketside' the stores?

So, what to think of Walmart's replacing its 'marketside' stores' Web Site with the single page 'marketside' store brand site?

We think the main reason Walmart did this is because since it now has branded the four stores in Arizona 'marketside by Walmart' the old Web site can no longer function as a marketing or communications tool. It's not a standalone 'marketside' grocery and fresh foods store brand anymore.

We have searched for a replacement Web Site for the Arizona 'marketside by Walmart' stores without success. If one exists, it's well hidden. Walmart isn't commenting on the subject at present. There is a Facebook Site for 'marketside by Walmart' stores. However it hasn't had much activity lately.

Fresh & Easy Buzz has reported on and written extensively about Walmart's 'marketside' small-format grocery and fresh foods retail format since early 2008. In our reporting and analysis we've always stressed that for Walmart 'marketside by Walmart' is truly a test. The retailer isn't wedded either to the small-format grocery and fresh foods format -- as Tesco is in the U.S. with Fresh & Easy, for example -- nor is it wedded to the 'marketside' stores specifically. The four stores are a mere trickle in the investment bucket for Walmart.

Walmart though appears somewhat wedded to the 'marketside' brand name in that it is using the name for its new prepared foods store brand, developing and rolling out additional items under the brand.

Perhaps when all is said and done 'store brand marketside' will be the only legacy of the name for Walmart Stores, Inc.?

We don't suspect Walmart will close the four existing marketside stores just yet though. But the fact the chain postponed going forward with opening the additional 'marketside' stores doesn't hold great promise for the future of a chain of 'marketside by Walmart' stores. The San Diego region stores haven't been built/remodeled yet although Walmart holds leasing on the two sites.

The recession really changed the landscape for Walmart vis-a-vis focusing on the marketside stores. It's mega-combination grocery and general merchandise Supercenters have drawn an entire new demographic of shoppers - higher income and professionals - along with its traditional shopper base, as consumers have been searching for food and grocery dollar value in the last two years, and continue to do so. The Supercenters are also drawing more food and grocery customers of all socio-economic levels than ever before.

This fact has caused increased faith at Walmart in its Supercenters, along with the development of a strategic program in which the retailer is committed to holding on to its "new" customers when the recession ends.

Walmart's original strategic vision for 'marketside' was as a fill-in type food and grocery store (in between shopping trips to its Supercenters), which is the main reason it opened the first four test stores in Arizona, where Walmart has numerous Supercenters and holds the number one market share position for food and grocery sales.

The second reason was to test whether or not a focus on selling fresh, prepared foods (ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat) had consumer sales legs. Think Tesco's Fresh & Easy.

The 'marketside' stores were also a defensive move against Tesco's Fresh & Easy, which is another convenient reason the 'marketside by Walmart' stores are located in Arizona, which is one of Tesco's three markets with Fresh & Easy.

Walmart's marketside, just like Tesco's Fresh & Easy, hasn't been turning in a stellar sales performance to date as a format devoted roughly 50% to prepared and fresh foods and 50% to grocery and related products.

Based on our reporting and research at present we don't know the ultimate fate of Walmart's now 'marketside by Walmart' stores and format.

However, we believe there's a high probability that Walmart will dump the stores sometime next year. We don't see Walmart opening the San Diego test stores anytime soon. And it makes little sense for Walmart to operate just four of the 'marketside' stores.

Additionally, with a line of fresh foods and fresh, prepared foods branded 'marketside' available in every Walmart Supercenter and Walmart Neighborhood market format store is a small-format store called 'marketside by Walmart' then needed? Why not just 'marketside' fresh and prepared foods kiosks inside the Supercenters, for example.

For now though the 'marketside by Walmart' stores remain open. Web Site or no Web Site. And of course if a new 'marketside by Walmart' Web site pops up soon that would be a good indicator or sign that 'marketside' the stores also will be around for a while. Stay tuned.

[Readers: Click here and here for a selection of past posts in Fresh & Easy Buzz about Walmart's 'marketside' retail format and stores.]

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Promotional Pundit: Fresh & Easy Buzz's 'Promotional Pundit' and Watchdog Likes Safeway's '12 Days To Save' Promotion

There tends to be a dearth of creative marketing and advertising when it comes to the weekly promotional offerings put forth by U.S. supermarket chains.

For example, most food retailers' weekly advertising circulars consist mainly of a series of national (and regional) brand and store brand items which are offered at discount prices, along with a store-specific coupon or two. This isn't a bad thing - just a limiting one.

Of course, there are exceptions.

I noticed such an exception yesterday in the form of a four-page, full-color supplemental promotional/advertising circular distributed by Pleasanton, California-based Safeway Stores, Inc. via Sunday newspapers and online in all of its U.S. markets. Safeway operates hundreds of supermarkets in California, Nevada and Arizona - the three states where Tesco's 130 Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market grocery and fresh foods markets are located - under the "Safeway" and "Vons" banners, as well as operating under "Safeway" and other banners in numerous other parts of the country.

The Promotional 'Big Idea'

Safeway's concept in the supplemental advertising flier issued yesterday - and good until Christmas Eve, December 24 - is a simple yet catchy one.

The promotion is called "Safeway's 12 Days To Save." It's a takeoff on the famous "12 Days of Christmas" song and theme."

In the advertising flier [an online version even includes sound; click the fourth button from the left on the Web Player at the link, top of the Web Site] Safeway is offering shoppers a coupon good for a one free item for each of the 12 days - beginning yesterday - leading up to Christmas. The last free coupon - for a free bottle of Safeway brand Club Soda - is to be redeemed by shoppers on Christmas Eve.

Among the "12 days of free items" from Safeway, along with the club soda, are a dozen free eggs, a 5 pound bag of potatoes, free cake mix and eight other items. Shoppers have to spend a minimum of $20 to get the daily free item coupon offering.

The promotion and advertising flier isn't a replacement for Safeway's regular weekly advertising circular. Rather, it's a supplement to it, geared around the Christmas holiday song and theme of the "12 Days of Christmas."

I like Safeway's promotion for a number of reasons.

First, it breaks out of the usual price-promotion-only focused paradigm/box by adding a creative element to it: The "12 Days of Christmas," which is a song every grocery shopper can relate to. It's easy for a consumer to immediately make the mental connection between the 12 days of free item coupons and the "12 days of Christmas" song and theme.

Second, the promotion adds the element of fun to grocery shopping. This cynical pundit smiled when we saw the flier, for example. Good advertising creates smiles.

Third, FREE is an obviously powerful offering. With a coupon for one free item, such as a dozen eggs, in hand, and with only a $20 purchase minimum needed in order to obtain it, I think a non-Safeway shopper just might be tempted to give Safeway a try. In other words, creating new customer trial, which should always be one goal of grocer promotions. And for regular Safeway shoppers the free item is a bonus for being a loyal customer.

Lastly, and perhaps most important, Safeway's "12 Days To Save" promotion and advertising flier creates interest in the Safeway brand. Safeway's supplemental advertising flier caught my attention, for example, and I look at way too many grocery chain promotional and advertising pieces. That means is broke from the usual clutter.

Such interest in "brand Safeway" does more than promote -- it adds to the chain's overall marketing and brand building efforts -- and as such I think it warrants being called a marketing piece as well as just a promotional one.

I give two thumbs up to Safeway's "12 Days To Save" promotion.

And just for fun, the song: "The 12 Days of Christmas"

On the first day of Christmas, my true love sent to me A partridge in a pear tree.

On the second day of Christmas, my true love sent to me Two turtle doves, And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the third day of Christmas, my true love sent to me Three French hens, Two turtle doves, And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me Four calling birds, Three French hens, Two turtle doves, And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me Five golden rings, Four calling birds, Three French hens, Two turtle doves, And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me Six geese a-laying, Five golden rings, Four calling birds, Three French hens, Two turtle doves, And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the seventh day of Christmas, my true love sent to me Seven swans a-swimming, Six geese a-laying, Five golden rings, Four calling birds, Three French hens, Two turtle doves, And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the eighth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me Eight maids a-milking, Seven swans a-swimming, Six geese a-laying, Five golden rings, Four calling birds, Three French hens, Two turtle doves, And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the ninth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me Nine ladies dancing, Eight maids a-milking, Seven swans a-swimming, Six geese a-laying, Five golden rings, Four calling birds, Three French hens, Two turtle doves, And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the tenth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me Ten lords a-leaping, Nine ladies dancing, Eight maids a-milking, Seven swans a-swimming, Six geese a-laying, Five golden rings, Four calling birds, Three French hens, Two turtle doves, And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the eleventh day of Christmas, my true love sent to me Eleven pipers piping, Ten lords a-leaping, Nine ladies dancing, Eight maids a-milking, Seven swans a-swimming, Six geese a-laying, Five golden rings, Four calling birds, Three French hens, Two turtle doves, And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me Twelve drummers drumming, Eleven pipers piping, Ten lords a-leaping, Nine ladies dancing, Eight maids a-milking, Seven swans a-swimming, Six geese a-laying, Five golden rings, Four calling birds, Three French hens, Two turtle doves, And a partridge in a pear tree!

Click here to listen to the song: "The Twelve (12) Days of Christmas."

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Analysis: Why A Loyalty Club Card Program Makes Zero-Sense For Tesco's Fresh & Easy USA

Yesterday (December 7) the Financial Times reported here that Tesco is planning to bring its successful loyalty card program from the United Kingdom (UK) to its Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market chain in the Western U.S., siting as its source "A recent advertisement for a new marketing position at Fresh & Easy’s US headquarters in the Los Angeles area [which] lists '2010 planning for loyalty programme' amid the job responsibilities."

The position in question however has to do with Fresh & Easy's existing "Friends of Fresh & Easy" e-mail-based marketing program rather than the grocer having any immediate plans to import the successful loyalty club card scheme from the UK to Tesco's fledgling Fresh & Easy chain.

Fresh & Easy Buzz was surprised to read the Financial Times' report yesterday for two major reasons: First, according to our (good) sources, Tesco's Fresh & Easy has no such near-term plans to begin a loyalty card program like the very successful 'Tesco Clubcard' in the UK and, second, the intellectual and operational "brains" behind Tesco's UK loyalty card program, the firm Dunnhumby, is unable to administer such a program for Tesco Fresh & Easy USA because the firm is prohibited from doing so due to a contract it has in the U.S. with the Kroger Co. supermarket chain, even though Dunnhumby is majority-owned by Tesco.

This Financial Times' report apparently struck the editors and reporters at the supermarket industry trade publication Supermarket News as a surprise like it did us here at Fresh & Easy Buzz.

Today, Supermarket News' reporter Julie Gallagher reported in this story that, according to Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market spokesman Roberto Munoz, Tesco has no current plans to start-up a loyalty card program at its Western USA-based chain of 130 Fresh & Easy small-format grocery and fresh foods markets located in California, Nevada and Arizona.

In the report, spokesman Munoz told Ms. Gallagher the job advertisement in question is for Fresh & Easy's e-mail-based "Friends of Fresh & Easy" marketing program, which it started earlier this year, and which Fresh & Easy Buzz suggested in concept the grocer create 11 months before that.

What Fresh & Easy Buzz does know is that the topic of importing the loyalty club card program from Tesco UK to the Fresh & Easy USA outpost has been a topic of discussion for a considerable amount of time between Tesco corporate brass in the UK and Tesco Fresh & Easy senior management at its Southern California headquarters.

For example, we were told as far back as 2007 and again in 2008 by a former Tesco Fresh & Easy headquarters employee who was in a position to know that discussions on importing the loyalty card program (or not) were held more than once by the grocery and fresh foods chain's senior management, as well as being discussed with members of Fresh & Easy's buying and merchandising team at the El Segundo, California headquarters.

The decision then, and now, has been to not institute a loyalty card program for Fresh & Easy. The two key reasons for not doing so being (1) the Dunnhumby-Kroger Co. dilemma and (2) the simple fact that it's been believed by the chain's senior management that it's far too soon in Fresh & Easy's development to consider a club card program because of not wanting to create any type of program that might perceptually or actually serve to restrict business, particularly the encouragement of much needed new shoppers to the stores. A grocer has to create loyalty before it rewards it after all.


Our analysis here at Fresh & Easy Buzz is that it makes no sense at this point in time for Tesco's Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market to get into the loyalty club card business for three key reasons:

1. Loyalty card programs tend to work best for large chains with significant market share such as Tesco in the UK and Safeway Stores, Inc. in the U.S. Fresh & Easy has little or no share of the market in its three key market regions: Southern California, Metropolitan Las Vegas, Nevada and Metro Phoenix, Arizona. A grocery chain needs a significant and strong customer base in order to make a loyalty card program work. Fresh & Easy has neither at this point in time. Therefore, adopting a loyalty card program makes little sense.

2. Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market already has too many self-imposed retail operations' policies that serve to restrict potential shoppers. These include: not accepting manufacturers' cents-off coupons, paper personal checks and WIC Vouchers in any of its 130 stores. Having a 100% self-service checkout system also is a restriction to customers who prefer full-serve checkout or at least being offered the option of having it.

There's no reason at this point in its development for Fresh & Easy to self-impose an additional potential barrier to customer entry policy such as a club card, which would mean that only holders of such a card would get certain promotional offerings and price reductions.

3. Fresh & Easy has far more concerns at this point in time in terms of its operations, marketing and merchandising than the implementation of a loyalty card program. These concerns include: the need to draw more shoppers to its stores, increasing gross margins considerably and still having numerous underperforming stores, among others. Instituting a loyalty card program would in our analysis do nothing to help solve these serious problems. In fact we think instituting a loyalty card program would just distract the grocer from focusing on these and other big issues. It's our analysis that the biggest issue remains the viability of the Fresh & Easy format itself. The jury is still out on that question -- as is the answer.


Therefore, to those at Tesco and its Fresh & Easy chain, we suggest that not implementing any sort of a loyalty club card program at this point in time is the wise decision for the three key reasons we mention above, along with a few others.

The time is not right for such a program, and we don't see any benefits of doing so for Tesco's Fresh & Easy. There are many higher and more important priorities to be addressed, changes to be made, and programs to create and implement in order to achieve success for the chain.