Future Of Calif. Fresh & Easy Stores Unclear, Owner Leaving U.S. Market

Posted: April 18, 2013 in Opportunity

CBS San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS / AP) — Tesco, Britain’s largest retailer by sales, is to pull out of the U.S., selling off its lossmaking Fresh & Easy supermarket chain after it failed to transfer its winning formula from the U.K. to the western states.

The supermarket group booked a loss of 1.2 billion pounds ($1.8 billion) for the U.S. misadventure, which helped send net profit for the year down 96 percent to 120 million pounds ($183 million).

Fresh & Easy—which employs about 5,000 people and has about 200 stores in Arizona, California and Nevada—flopped mainly because Tesco opened the chain just before the start of the economic crisis and misjudged the shopping habits of its target customers.

“It’s never easy to walk away from something,” Tesco’s chief executive, Philip Clarke, told the BBC. “The world is so different now from 2004 and 2005 when the research was originally taken. Who was…

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