Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market Press Release Confirms Our Recent Report On New Stores

Tesco's Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market issued a press release today announcing it's hiring employees for three stores in California it plans to open soon.

The announcement confirms our July 5, 2011 story, in which we reported the grocery chain is queuing up nine stores, all in California, for upcoming openings.

The three stores - two in Southern California and one unit in Northern California - Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market announced it's hiring for today are at the following locations: Long Beach Boulevard at 5th Street and Atlantic Avenue and 33rd Avenue, both in Long Beach, California; and Hesperian Boulevard and A Street in Hayward, which is in the East San Francisco Bay Area.

The two Long Beach stores and the Hayward unit are among the nine upcoming new Fresh & Easy markets the retailer is planning to open in the coming months, as we reported in our July 5 story.

>Read our July 5, 2011 story here: Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market Preparing For A Spate of New Store Openings Beginning in August .

>Read the press release from Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market here

Fresh & Easy wages

Tesco's Fresh & Easy pays a starting wage of $10 hour for basic clerk positions in its stores, as the grocer notes in its press release.

But what you won't read in today's press release issued by Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market or in any of the others it's issued since 2007 - nor will you obtain the information in any other publication - is what the fresh food and grocery chain pays store managers and the two levels of management assistants level that comprise the 20-25 employees in each of its stores.

First, unlike supermarket chains operated by Kroger (Ralphs in Southern California and Fry's in Arizona, for example), Supervalu, Inc. (Albertsons in Southern California) and Safeway Stores, or mass merchandisers like Walmart and Target, Tesco's Fresh & Easy pays its store managers by the hour rather than an annual salary.

Currently, the hourly rate for a store manager at Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market ranges from $42-$45 hour, depending on the perspective manager's experience level.

Additionally, managers of Fresh & Easy stores receive a health benefits package and have a bonus program, along with participating in the company 401K retirement plan if they choose to do so.

The Tesco-owned grocery chain, which currently has 176 stores in California, Nevada and Arizona, has two types of  positions designed to assist store managers - assistant mangers and team leaders.

The assistant managers, and not every Fresh & Easy store has them, make a starting wage of $15 hour at present.

Team leaders, which is a position similar to a head clerk at unionized grocery chains like those operated by Kroger and Safeway, start at $13 hour.

Like all store-level workers at Fresh & Easy that work over 20-hours a week, both assistant managers and team leaders have a health benefits plan that includes medical, vision, prescription drug and dental (the grocer pays about 75% of the premium), and they too can participate in the chain's 401K investment/retirement plan.

All of the rank-and-file employees at Fresh & Easy stores work part-time, in most instances in the 20-34 hours-per-week range.

Most but not all assistant manages work full-time.

The majority of team leaders (usually about three per-store but there can be more or fewer) work part-time, although there are some full-time exceptions.

Fresh & Easy in California

As we've been reporting in Fresh & Easy Buzz since last year, Tesco's El Segundo, California-based Fresh & Easy chain is focusing virtually all of its new store openings this year in California.

For example, so far in 2011 the grocer has opened 22 new stores, all in California. Twelve of those stores are in Northern California. The remaining 10 new stores opened so far this year are in Southern California.

The Golden State is where the majority of Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market' 176 stores are located.

A whopping 127 units are in California. Of those stores, 101 units are in Southern California, 12 stores are in Northern California and 14 units (seven each respectively in each region) are in the Fresno and Bakersfield metro areas in the Central Valley.

Tesco has 28 Fresh & Easy stores in metropolitan Phoenix, Arizona and 21 units in metro Las Vegas, Nevada.

No new stores have been opened in either region this year. Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market has no plans to open any new stores in either Nevada or Arizona in August, according to our sources.

In November 2010, Tesco closed six stores in each of the two western states, along with one unit in Southern California. (See here for details.)

Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market thus far has announced it plans to open one new store in August. That store is at 3rd Street and Carroll Avenue in San Francisco's Bayview District.

We've reported the grocery chain also plans to open its store at Hesperian Boulevard and A Street in Hayward in August, although as we've noted that date could be advanced depending on a number of factors.

Related Stories

July 9, 2011: Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market (Selectively) Bullish on Commercial Real Estate In California

July 5, 2011: Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market Preparing For A Spate of New Store Openings Beginning in August

May 18, 2011: Major Changes Coming to Tesco's Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market Stores

January 14, 2011: Tesco 'Banking' on California in 2011 For Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market USA

November 4, 2010: Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market Confirms Our October Reports On 10 New Stores Opening in Early 2011

May 15, 2008: Fresh But Never Easy: Tesco's Long But Rapid South-North March in the Nation-State of California

April 19, 2011: Tesco's Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market Posts Biggest One-Year Loss Yet - $307 Million Loss on Sales of $818 Million

February 19, 2008: Tesco's Fresh & Easy Serving as an Economic Stimulus Package of Sorts for California's Troubled Commercial Retail Real Estate Industry

[Also: Click on the following links - , , , , , ,  - for additional related stories.]

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