Monday, January 9, 2012

Exclusive: Tesco's Fresh & Easy Closing 12 Stores; We Have the Locations

Breaking Buzz

Yesterday we broke the news that Tesco will close up to 12 of its 184 Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market grocery stores in California, Nevada and Arizona. [Read the story here - January 8, 2012: Tesco to Close Up to 12 Fresh & Easy Stores.]

Today we can report that Tesco's Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market plans to close 12 underperforming stores - seven units in California, four grocery markets in metro Phoenix, Arizona and one store in metro Las Vegas, Nevada.

Below are the addresses of the 12 Fresh & Easy stores to be closed:


>Fresno: Cedar and Shields
>Bakersfield: H and Planz
>Hemet: Florida and Lyon
>Anaheim: Lincoln and Western
>Baldwin Park: Francisquito and Puente
>Fountain Valley: Harbor and Edinger
>Ontario: Riverside and Archibald

All the stores, except for the Fresno and Bakersfield locations, which are in the Central Valley, are in Southern California


>Phoenix: 7th Street and Thunderbird
>Phoenix: 19th Avenue and Glendale
>Phoenix: Camelback Road and 83rd Avenue
>Phoenix: 32nd Street and Greenway


>Las Vegas: Ann and Decatur

The store closures were announced to employees of Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market by CEO Tim Mason today.

In making the announcement Mason said this: " Like any retailer, we are always evaluating our store portfolio and we have decided to temporarily close twelve underperforming stores. At this time, there is simply not enough growth in sales and customers to keep these stores open. Many have been open for several years and are trading in areas where the network of Fresh & Easy stores will be able to absorb most of the existing customer base. We have taken significant steps to minimize the impact these temporary closures will have on you, including making sure we are able to offer all impacted employees a position at another nearby store."

As you can see in the paragraph above, Mason calls the store closures "temporary." He used that word because Fresh & Easy plans to "mothball" the 12 stores like it did with the 13 units it closed in November 2010. All 13 of those stores remain closed and are vacant.

Mason also told employees in today's announcement that although the retailer is closing the 12 stores, Fresh & Easy plans to "open more than two dozen through March, including seven new Fresh & Easy Express stores in Los Angeles and Orange counties and our first five stores in the Sacramento market."

The first batch of those two dozen-plus new stores are set to open on Wednesday.

Neither Tesco or its Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market chain has publicly announced the closure of the 12 stores listed above.

Tesco has now closed 25 Fresh & Easy stores since it launched its El Segundo, California-based small-format fresh food and grocery chain in November 2007, when the first batch of stores were opened.

Six of the 13 Fresh & Easy stores Tesco closed in November 2010 were in metro Phoenix, Arizona and metro Las Vegas, Nevada respectively. One store was in Southern California.

With the closing of the four Fresh & Easy units in Phoenix, Tesco will have just 24 stores in Arizona, down from a high of 34 units in October 2010, before the six stores were closed in November of that year.

There are currently 135 Fresh 7 Easy stores in California. Closing the seven stores will reduce the grocer's store count in the state to 128 units, but only until Wednesday when Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market will begin opening the first batch of what will be a couple dozen new stores in California over the next few months. See our exclusive list of those stores here.

The closing of the single store in Las Vegas, at Ann and Decatur, will give Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market 20 units in Nevada, down from the current 21 stores. The retailer plans to open a couple new stores in the metro Las Vegas region this year, so that store count number will rise once those units open.

Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market didn't open any new stores in Arizona or Nevada in calendar year 2011, although it has a number of locations in both states it's been sitting on in both states for a considerable amount of time. Instead, all 29 of the new stores it opened in 2011 are in California, which is where all but a handful of the new stores set to be opened in 2012 will be located.

We'll be offering some analysis on the latest round of Fresh & Easy store closings in an upcoming piece. Stay tuned.

Related Stories

January 8, 2012: Tesco to Close Up to 12 Fresh & Easy Stores

December 26, 2011: Solid Performance Gives Tesco 'Fresh & Easy' Wiggle Room - But CEO Clarke Shouldn't Sleep Soundly Every Night

December 8, 2011: Tesco Reports 11.9% Q3 Comp Store Sales Gain for Fresh & Easy ... But On Heavy Discounting

November 10, 2011: Chief Marketing Officer Uwins Out in Top-Level Reshuffling at Tesco's Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market

October 10, 2011: Gov. Signs AB 183: End of Self-Service Checkout Only in California For Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market if Stores to Still Sell Alcohol

November 2, 2010: Closure of 13 Stores Brings Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market's Store-Count to 155 Units

October 24, 2010: Tesco's Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market On Track to Close 13 Stores By November 2, 2010

October 5, 2010: Philip Clarke's Early Welcome to America: Tesco Logs $151 Million Half-Year Loss For Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market


James Sinclair said...

"Many have been open for several years and are trading in areas where the network of Fresh & Easy stores will be able to absorb most of the existing customer base. "

Based on Google's aerial imagery, the Fresno location was under construction in May 2010, so it hasnt even been open for two years. There are also no other Fresh And Easy's in the neighborhood. Their closest competitor is Vallarta Supermarket, a mexican supermarket which has higher prices than F&E, but obviously caters to the lcoal hispanic market in ways F&E does not.

FresnoDan said...

There are at least 2 stores in Fresno and one or two in Visalia that still haven't been open. If they are doing that bad in the valley I guess I shouldn't expect those Fresh & Easy's to open. Good news for Save Mart though.

James Sinclair said...

Fresnodan, from what I know, there are 3 unopened. One has been finished for months, the other was under construction a few months ago and is probably ready by now, the third was just a parking lot last I saw it (6 months ago) and probably still is.

I was hoping they were part of the opening plan this year.

Julie Duck said...

I was holding my breath in fear that my Lake Forest and Laguna Hills stores would be shuttered. So happy they are here to stay.

- Julie

cab said...

We were read the official statement in today's "huddle". My store is not closing. We were told the norcal stores are holding their own.

Anonymous said...

The economy in Phoenix is just starting to come back fairly strong. Why close 4 stores in the city now? They must really be doing poorly to close all 4 stores at this time.

Fresh & Easy Buzz said...

James - doubt if you will see any of those vacant Fresh & Easy stores in Fresno opening anytime soon.

They also have multiple vacant locations in Bakersfield and Modesto yet to open, in the valley, along with one in Los Banos. Most of these go back to 2009, in terms of when leases aquired.

Vallarta plans to add stores in the Fresno area, by the way.

SoCalFoodBroker said...

Good scoop! Seeing all sorts of stories yesterday and today on F&E's announcement following your story.

I've never known of a grocer closing store's temporarily and then opening them back up again. Do you buy that?

Fresh & Easy Buzz said...

Good to hear from you SoCal. has been a while since have seen your comments.

I can't recall one U.S. grocer that's closed a store at a specific location and then re-opened it later. But I've only been involved in the grocery business for a bit over 30 years. Also, although a historian of the business, that doesn't mean I can say it hasn't happened somewhere, sometime.

If any readers know of a grocer that's closed a store and then re-opened it laster would love to hear the specifics though.

Hard to imagine a bad location would become a good one a year or even 5 years later though.

cab said...

I imagine that since FnE is stuck in these leases, that who knows? Maybe they will try and re-open some doors later on.I'm sure we all hope the economy will rebound. Have'ta say though that I kinda scratch my head over opening more doors in the Sacto/central valley. Unemployment is just sad there, and Fne's prices have been taking some jumps upward.

James Sinclair said...

If you have any news about future Vallarta openings in the Fresno market, I'd love to hear it. I go there every month or so for imports you can't get anywhere else. It's not that close to where I lvie though.
Currently, their two Fresno locations are in the same area, and their competitor (previously Fiesta Foods, now called El Super) is also in that neighborhood.

Ive never heard of a grocer closing and then re-opening (under the same brand), but the pharmacies do seem to enjoy abandoning their existing building for a brand new one a quarter of a mile away.

FresnoDan said...

Thanks for the info James. I thought Fresh & Easy billed itself as lower prices than Save Mart, Vons and the others, so can't understand why if that is really true it wouldn't be a success in Fresno but instead says it isn't opening stores here because of the poor economy. Sort of backasswords.