Fresh & Easy cools it

After opening 59 markets since November, the British retailer will freeze all store openings as it takes the next three months to "smooth out any wrinkles." That unexpected pause is bound to raise questions about how well - or poorly - the much-followed chain is faring. The company, a unit of British retail giant Tesco, is notoriously tight-lipped about most everything, especially its weekly sales tally. Last month, a Piper Jaffray analyst said Fresh & Easy sales were falling short by at least $30,000 a week, and a supermarket consultant told a group of British investors that Tesco has miscalculated with its unusual concept of having limited items and focusing on fresh and prepared foods. That remains to be seen, but Fresh & Easy is certainly no instant hit. The not-quite convenience store and not-quite supermarket appears to be confusing shoppers. Company executive Simon Uwins did say on his blog that the chain still planned to open hundreds of stores in California, Nevada and Arizona. (OC Register)

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Mark Lacter
Mark Lacter created the LA Biz Observed blog in 2006. He posted until the day before his death on Nov. 13, 2013.
Mark Lacter, business writer and editor was 59
The multi-talented Mark Lacter
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