Fresh & Easy, the El Segundo grocery chain that debuted in 2007 to much fanfare as British supermarket giant Tesco’s entrée into the United States, is checking out.
A company spokesman told the Los Angeles Times that the chain is beginning an “organized wind-down.” Fresh & Easy currently operates 97 stores in California, Nevada and Arizona. Layoff notices have gone out to more than 3,000 employees.
Grocery billionaire Ron Burkle’s Yucaipa Cos. bought the chain in 2013 after it sought bankruptcy protection, but could not reverse the chain’s fortunes. Fresh & Easy never made a profit during its nine-year run.
The chain took criticism for its perceived failure to adapt to the shopping habits of Americans. For example, Fresh & Easy pre-packaged many of its fruits and vegetables in molded plastic containers, while shoppers preferred selecting their own apples and pears from the traditional piles in the supermarket produce section.
The Fresh & Easy spokesman said the company remains interested in selling all or part of the business.
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