Fresh & Easy
|Defunct||October 23, 2015|
|Headquarters||El Segundo, California|
|Arizona, California, Nevada|
|Jim Keyes CEO|
Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market was a chain of grocery stores in the western United States, headquartered in El Segundo, California. It was a subsidiary of Tesco, the world's third largest retailer, based in the United Kingdom, until November 2013 when it was purchased by Yucaipa Companies. It had plans for rapid growth – the first stores opened in November 2007 and, after a pause in the second quarter of 2008, the opening program recommenced. While there were over 200 stores in Arizona, California, and Nevada by December 2012, Tesco confirmed in April 2013 that it was pulling out of the US market, at a reported cost of £1.2 billion. On September 10, 2013, Tesco announced they were transferring ownership and operations of more than 150 stores to supermarket-owner Ron Burkle's Yucaipa Companies group. At the beginning of October 2013, Fresh & Easy filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in U.S. bankruptcy court. The sale cost Tesco £150m, taking the total cost of its failed US venture to nearly £2bn. On October 23, 2015, Yucaipa announced that it would close all Fresh & Easy stores.
On October 30, 2015, Fresh & Easy filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy for the second time in two years.
On February 9, 2006, Tesco announced that it planned to move into the United States by opening a chain of small format grocery stores in three Western states (Arizona, California and Nevada) in 2007 named Fresh & Easy. The initial planned capital expenditure was up to £250m ($436m) per year. After Tesco CEO Terry Leahy announced serious resources had been committed to developing a format that would be popular with American consumers, investors responded with some skepticism with a small drop in the company's share price. The markets were expected to be around 1,400 square metres (15,000 sq ft)—good-sized supermarkets in many countries, but about one-third the size of an average supermarket in the US By January 2007, Tesco opened its U.S. headquarters in El Segundo, California,. The company initially expanded into Southern California, Phoenix, Arizona, and Las Vegas, Nevada.
On April 21, 2009 Tesco reported a trading loss of £142m from Fresh & Easy. On October 4, 2010 Fresh & Easy announced that it was temporarily closing 13 stores because of shrinking populations, high percentage of housing foreclosures and high unemployment rates. The stores were being mothballed, with hope of reopening them when the economy improves. Six of the stores were in the Las Vegas area, six in the Phoenix area and one in Moreno Valley, California. Most of the closures were "C-level stores," or those doing less than $50,000 USD in weekly sales. The business was not expected to break even until 2012–13. In the Strategic Review announcement in December 2012, research was showing that the company was not going to make a profit until the end of 2013 or even 2014. An article in the Los Angeles Times estimated that the chain has experienced "about $1.2 billion in cumulative annual losses" prior to 2013.
In February 2013 it was reported that despite rumors, Tesco would not be selling or closing the chain. This "rumor" was based on the fact that Tesco Chief Executive Philip Clarke announced to shareholders that Tesco would close or sell Fresh & Easy.
Tesco announced the sale of the chain on September 10, 2013 to Yucaipa Companies LLC. In fact, Tesco was not so much selling the chain as "essentially paying Mr. Burkle’s Yucaipa Cos. to take on [Fresh & Easy's] liabilities" at a cost to Tesco of £150 million (approximately $235 million), while also providing the transferred chain with an £80 million loan. On November 27, 2013, the sale to Yucaipa Companies was completed. Yucaipa acquired 167 Fresh & Easy stores and closed approximately 40 of them.
In a statement delivered shortly after the news was released, Burkle confirmed there would be changes to the stores' format, "to complete Tesco’s vision ... [and] make it even more relevant to today’s consumer." In June 2014, Fresh & Easy initiated a reintroduction campaign, emphasizing "affordable organics," made-on-the-premises takeout, freshness, and the avoidance of artificial colors and flavors.
In its e-mail announcing the sale, Fresh & Easy said that customers would need to re-enroll in the Fresh & Easy Friends Card Loyalty program because "California state law does not allow the transfer of personal information of Friends Rewards members to the new buyer of Fresh & Easy"; after re-enrolling, "existing points and rewards balance will be honored."
On March 22, 2015, Fresh & Easy announced that 50 of its stores would close to redeploy its money into development of an e-commerce shopping service. 30 of the stores that would close were located in California. The service, named Click & Collect, underwent testing at stores in the Las Vegas Valley in anticipation of a chainwide rollout.
On October 21, 2015, Fresh & Easy announced it was closing all of its stores. Brendan Wonnacott, a spokesman for the chain, said Fresh & Easy was starting “the process for an organized wind-down.” According to Wonnacott, Fresh & Easy did not have enough cash and could not obtain financing to continue operating the business. In a Chapter 7 manner, stores would be liquidated and closed within the next few weeks. The stores began a liquidation sale on October 24, 2015, and by November 13, 2015, all of their stores were closed, along with the termination of their Friends Rewards program. Since then, the existence of the "Fresh and Easy" brand has vanished.
On October 30, 2015, Fresh & Easy filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy for the second time in two years.
After negotiations between Fresh & Easy, through their financial advisers, FTI Consulting, Inc. and Industrial Assets Corp., led by Venice Gamble (the Director of Legal & Business Development for Industrial Assets ) and Nyk Westbrook (who is the Director of Business Development for Industrial Assets Corp.) for Industrial Assets Corp., and Mary Ann Kaptain (who is a Managing Director for FTI Consulting, Inc.) for Fresh & Easy, to have Industrial Assets Corp. and Maynards Industries become employed as the Auctioneer to liquidate Fresh & Easy's equipment, on November 5, 2015, Fresh & Easy filed an application for court approval to engage a liquidation company, Industrial Assets Corp. and Maynards Industries, to hold a public auction. Venice Gamble, the liquidation firm's Director of Legal & Business Development signed the Declaration in Support of Employment of the Auctioneer. (See Exhibit 1 [Page 50-55] of the Pleadings).
On November 20, 2015, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court approved the request and application to have Industrial Assets Corp. and Maynards Industries employed as the auctioneer.
On December 12, 2015, Industrial Assets Corp. and their subsidiaries, BidItUp Auctions Worldwide, together with Maynards Industries held a public auction at Fresh & Easy's distribution center in Riverside, California, where all of Fresh & Easy's hard assets, including tractors, trailers, and other furnishings, fixtures, and equipment ("FF&E") was liquidated and sold at auction.
Timothy John Rollit Mason is the former President and Chief Executive Officer of Fresh & Easy. He joined Tesco in 1982 and became a member of the Board in 1995. Mason relocated to the U.S. with his family as part of the assignment of building the U.S. presence. He led the team researching the U.S. market prior to the company opening its first American store. In March 2011, Mason took on new roles as deputy chief executive and chief marketing officer within Tesco, and now spends about a third of his time outside of the US.
It was reported in December 2012 that Tim Mason had resigned from Tesco. He got a large bonus check when he resigned, totalling around £5.7 million. Most people criticized the company for giving him such a big payout despite the US stores not turning a profit.
Fresh & Easy announced in October 2007 that the first California and Arizona stores would open November 8. However, on November 1, 2007, Fresh & Easy opened its first store, in Hemet, California, as a "soft opening". (Soft openings are traditionally done in the retail business to test systems and store staff, and prepare for a larger "grand opening.") The Hemet store, near the company's distribution center, along with five others in Los Angeles and Orange Counties, then had their "grand opening" on November 8, 2007.
Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market employed 20 to 30 associates per store. Part-time employees were paid a starting hourly wage of $10 USD per hour. Those store employees who work at least 20 hours per week received a health insurance plan, which they also contributed to. Assistant managers, called Team Leaders, were paid $13 hour (California). In Arizona, each of these positions were paid US$1 per hour less. From April until the end of June 2008, Fresh & Easy took a pause from opening any new stores. That hiatus was lifted with the July 2, 2008 opening of a store in Manhattan Beach, California. As of October 5, 2011, there were 182 stores in Arizona, California, and Nevada.
On September 8, 2010, Fresh & Easy opened 4 new stores in California, marking the 100th store for the state. By August 2011, with the first Northern California stores open, there were 128 stores operating in California. This totalled 130 after opening locations in Brentwood, California and Antioch, California between January and March 2012.
In July 2007, Tesco announced plans for several Arizona stores. The first Mesa, Arizona, store opened December 5, 2007. There were (as of August 2011) 28 locations in operation in the greater Phoenix area.
The first five Nevada stores opened in the Las Vegas Valley area November 11, 2007. There were 21 stores in operation in and around Las Vegas in August 2011. Many stores were opened in the locations of former Rite-Aid Pharmacies.
Tesco purchased a 130,000 square metres (1,400,000 sq ft) distribution centre in unincorporated Riverside County, adjacent to the cities of Riverside and Moreno Valley on land that was part of the former March Air Reserve Base. The company was seeking another distribution center location in Stockton, strategic for the Northern California region, and had considered another distribution centre in Phoenix.
Fresh & Easy made a commitment to building Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certified buildings. Its food transportation trailers were hybrid electric-diesel. The company contracted for the installation of a rooftop solar power system for its Riverside distribution center, capable of generating 2.6 million kilowatt hours per year—enough to supply a fifth of the depot's power needs and prevent the emission of 1,200 tons of carbon dioxide pollution per year; the contractor believed that it would be the largest such system in the world at the time. Stores were equipped with LED lights in freezers, coolers and for outdoor signage. Some stores had reserved parking for hybrid cars.
- "FreshandEasy.com Terms & Conditions Archived June 15, 2010, at the Wayback Machine." Fresh & Easy. Retrieved on July 15, 2010.
- Denise Winterman (September 9, 2013). "How one supermarket came to dominate". BBC. Retrieved September 14, 2013.
- "Tesco completes sale of US business Fresh & Easy to investment firm Yucaipa". Retail Week. November 27, 2013.
- "Tesco profits fall as supermarket pulls out of US". BBC. April 17, 2013.
- Pfeifer, Stuart (September 10, 2013). "Ron Burkle's Yucaipa buying Fresh & Easy stores from Tesco". Los Angeles Times.
- Hsu, Tiffany (September 30, 2013). "Tesco's Fresh & Easy declares bankruptcy to ease sale to Burkle". Los Angeles Times.
- Sarah Butler. "Tesco puts US chain Fresh & Easy into bankruptcy | Business". The Guardian. Retrieved May 8, 2014.
- "Chapter 11 Petition" (PDF). PacerMonitor. Retrieved November 2, 2015.
- "Tesco to enter United States". Archived from the original on April 14, 2006. Retrieved March 13, 2006.
- Staff writers (February 9, 2006). "Tesco plans foray into US market". BBC News. Retrieved January 16, 2010.
- Britain's Tesco to Open Its First U.S. Stores in Southland, Los Angeles Times May 20, 2006. 
- "Upscale British retailer moving into South Bay, retrieved July 20, 2007". Archived from the original on August 29, 2007.
- Dineen, J.K. "Tesco signs deal for Fresh & Easy store in Bayview". San Francisco Business Times, December 11, 2007. Retrieved June 28, 2008.
- "13 Fresh & Easy Stores to Close". Supermarketnews.com. Retrieved September 9, 2012.
- "Fresh & Easy to close six stores in Las Vegas". Lvrj.com.
- Wood, Zoe (February 25, 2011). "How Tesco chief Sir Terry Leahy changed the way Britain shops". The Guardian. London.
- Li, Shan (March 21, 2013). "Five years in, Fresh & Easy markets are a flop". Los Angeles Times, March 21, 2013. Retrieved March 22, 2013.
- Mike Hornick. "No closure plans, Fresh & Easy says". The Packer.
- "Fresh and Easy may close U.S. stores | abc30.com". Abclocal.go.com. December 6, 2012. Archived from the original on May 8, 2014. Retrieved May 8, 2014.
- Kathleen (September 10, 2013). "Fresh & Easy Acquired by The Yucaipa Companies LLC | Fresh & Easy". Freshandeasy.com. Retrieved May 8, 2014.
- Gordon, Kathy (September 10, 2013). "Yucaipa to Take Tesco's U.S. Unit Off Its Hands". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved November 19, 2014.
- Ross, Andrew S (June 21, 2014). "Fresh & Easy introduces redesigned markets". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved November 19, 2014.
- "Tesco to Sell Fresh & Easy to Burkle's Yucaipa in U.S. Exit". Bloomberg.
- "faq | Fresh & Easy". Freshandeasy.com. September 10, 2013. Retrieved May 8, 2014.
- "Fresh & Easy closing 30 stores in Southern California". Los Angeles Times. March 23, 2015.
- Li, Shan (October 21, 2015). "Fresh & Easy begins closing down stores". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 22, 2015.
- "Fresh & Easy stores closing 14 Las Vegas stores". Las Vegas Review–Journal. October 21, 2015. Retrieved October 22, 2015.
- "Fresh & Easy markdowns begin as stores prepare to close". Orange County Register. October 24, 2015. Retrieved October 25, 2015.
- "Grocer Fresh & Easy Files for Bankruptcy Protection". The Wall Street Journal. October 30, 2015. Retrieved November 1, 2015.
- "EXECUTIVE PROFILE* Tim J. R. Mason". businessweek.com. Retrieved December 3, 2007.
- "Board of directors". tescocorporate.com. Archived from the original on November 7, 2007. Retrieved December 3, 2007.
- "Financial Times report, July 19, 2011". Ft.com. Retrieved September 9, 2012.
- "Tesco's Tim Mason to receive £5.7m following resignation". Retrieved December 11, 2012.
- Simon Neville. "Tesco's Tim Mason to receive £5.7m following resignation | Business". theguardian.com. Retrieved May 8, 2014.
- Cathryn Creno (October 12, 2007). "British grocer Tesco will open first U.S. stores soon in Calif., Ariz". azcentral.com. The Arizona Republic. Retrieved October 13, 2007.
- First Fresh & Easy Grocery Store Trades post bankruptcy Archived January 6, 2015, at the Wayback Machine
- "Fresh & Easy Opens First Store With CO2 Refrigeration System in Southern California". Reuters. September 8, 2010.
- "Arizona Republic, July 20, 2007". Azcentral.com. Retrieved September 9, 2012.
- "The fresh&easy Neighborhood Market". newszap.com. December 2, 2007. Retrieved December 3, 2007.[dead link]
- Zoe Wood (November 11, 2007). "Tesco has a flutter in Vegas". London: guardian.co.uk. Retrieved December 3, 2007.
- "Stores – Fresh & Easy". Freshandeasy.com. Retrieved September 9, 2012.
- "I-215 LAND DEAL: Great Britain's largest grocery chain buys 88.4 acres (358,000 m2) in an Inland business park". Retrieved July 20, 2007.
- Josh Fineman (December 4, 2007). "Tesco Is a 'Manageable Threat' to Safeway in U.S. (Update2)". bloomberg.com. Retrieved December 3, 2007.
- "Transicold Newsletter" (PDF). Penndda.com. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 10, 2008. Retrieved September 9, 2012.
- Walsh, Fiona (January 19, 2007). "Tesco makes the most of the Sunshine State". The Guardian. Retrieved January 24, 2015.
- "Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market Keeps it Simple and Keeps Prices Low". PR Newswire. November 1, 2007. Retrieved January 26, 2015.
- Wonnacott, Brendan (April 8, 2008). "FRESH & EASY TO GIVE AWAY FREE "BAG FOR LIFE" FOR EARTH DAY" (PDF). Fresh & Easy. Retrieved January 26, 2015.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Fresh & Easy.|