Thursday, July 29, 2010

Tesco's Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market Putting Together List of Managers Interested in Transferring to Northern California

Pictured above is an artist's rendering of the future Fresh & Easy store at Third and Carroll Streets in San Francisco's Bayview neighborhood. The store is the retail anchor of a residential condominium development, the first phase of which is nearly completed. Details here.

Breaking Buzz: Northern California Special Report - News & Analysis

Tesco is currently taking a major step in it's plans to launch Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market into Northern California, Fresh & Easy Buzz has learned.

Members of Fresh & Easy's senior management are asking headquarters workers, district-level managers and store managers at its 159 stores, particularly those in Southern California and the Central Valley but also in Nevada and Arizona, if they're interested in transferring to Northern California next year, when as we've reported the fresh food and grocery chain will likely start opening the first of its stores in the region.

The primary emphasis in terms of potential transfers to Northern California is on district managers and store managers, and to a lessor degree on store team leaders (assistant managers). Fresh & Easy wants to have as many management-level employees as it can get who already are familiar with how the chain operates ready to staff the Northern California stores. It can then hire most of the non-management store-level employees locally, according to our sources.

The objective is to compile a list of managers interested in transferring to Northern California to be used to staff the stores with managers, as well as to have district managers in place.

Tesco has 37 publicly announced or confirmed Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market store locations currently in Northern California - 19 in the Sacramento/Vacaville Metropolitan region and 18 in the San Francisco Bay Area.

We've identified an additional 14 Fresh & Easy store sites in Northern California. See our Northern California Fresh & Easy Store List. Tesco may not end up opening all 14 stores, just as it might not end up opening all of the 37 Fresh & Easy locations it announced in 2008. Doing so depends on various criteria.

Tesco's Fresh & Easy Neighborhood market is offering current district and store managers a higher pay rate then they're now receiving if they transfer to Northern California, reflecting the higher cost of living in the region. For example, The cost of living in the San Francisco Bay Area in particular is considerably higher than it is the Central Valley, Arizona or Nevada, as well as most parts of Southern California.

In a story on April 19, 2010 - Tesco Debating Whether to Launch Fresh & Easy Into Northern California This Fiscal Year... or Wait - we reported on an internal discussion within Tesco about when it should start opening the first of its stores in Northern California. Only a handful of the stores in the region are ready or close to ready to open. But the driving force in terms of the retailer's decision when to launch into Northern California in many ways is the store location (pictured at the top of this piece) at Third & Carroll in San Francisco's Bayview neighborhood. As we reported in this story - May 28, 2010: First Phase of Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market-Anchored Condo Development in San Francisco's Bayview Set For Completion in June - that store is nearly completed. Based on our research and information we believe it will be the first Fresh & Easy unit Tesco opens in Northern California.

In our April 19 piece we predicted Tesco would open its first stores in Northern California before the end of its 2010/11 fiscal year. The fiscal year ends in late February 2011. Remember, that's a prediction - not sourced reporting.

At this point in time, based on our source information, we still think it could happen in the third or fourth week of February 2011. But most recently we've been hearing from multiple sources that a March 2011 date for the opening of the first few Northern California stores is in the offing. We continue to pin down the exact date, although since Northern California has been and remains a moving target at Fresh & Easy, what we're reporting is about as close as one can get right now.

We also reported in this story - June 26, 2010: Tesco Planning to Announce in July When First Northern California Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market Stores to Open - that Tesco was/is planning to a announce its plans for Northern California before the end of this month. The clock is ticking on July. However, we stick by our report that those were/are Tesco Fresh & Easy Neighborhood market's plans. Again, because everything having to do with its Northern California launch is fluid, it wouldn't surprise us in the least bit if July passes without an announcement regarding Northern California.

Reader Resources

Below are the linked stories thus far in our '2010 Northern California Market Special Report' series:

Additionally: Click here to read a selection of past stories on Tesco's Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market and Northern California. Click the "older posts" link at the bottom of the linked pages for additional posts/pages.

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