Fresh & Easy to experiment with downsizing

The new stores are called Fresh & Easy Express and they'll be in the 3,000 square-foot range, about a third smaller than regular F&E locations. The first Express store will open in San Pedro, perhaps near the end of the year. The idea is to shoehorn the new stores into urban areas that would not accommodate larger formats. El Segundo-based Fresh & Easy, which is owned by British retail giant Tesco, has been plagued by losses, even as stores open at a rate of about one a week. From the Guardian:

The layout of the existing 176 stores is also being rejigged, after shoppers complained they were too clinical, with the introduction of wooden flooring and flower stands at entrances. The new design also aims to better reflect the higher volume of fresh products - which is supposed to be one of its main points of difference in the cut-throat US market. In a recent interview, Tim Mason, chief executive of Fresh & Easy, said: "This is a business that is costing Tesco a lot of money, and that cannot go on forever without signs of progress. We have described what progress looks like - break even by the end of next year - we are on track to get there. The prize is huge."

The chain also plans larger sections for produce, bakery goods, flowers, and ready-to-eat meals, reports the OC Register (makes you wonder why they hadn't done that from the start).

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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
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