Fresh & Easy chain may be sold or closed - New York News

Fresh & Easy chain may be sold or closed

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GLENDALE, Ariz. -

Are we soon going be saying goodbye to "Fresh & Easy?" The grocery chain is reportedly on the way out.

Fresh & Easy opened up 200 stores in Arizona, California and Nevada five years ago just as the economy was in a free fall.

The company has spent $1.6 billion on the concept, but so far, hasn't seen one penny in profit, and that means they are looking to get out of the grocery business.

Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Markets took the valley by storm when the British company Tesco decided to jump into the U.S. supermarket business back in 2007.

The company set up shop in neighborhoods all over Arizona, and at first it looked like it was a winning formula.

"We were so excited when this store opened up. I mean everyone in this neighborhood uses this store. Everybody I know," says shopper Marcy Steele.

"They are a little bit more expensive than a lot of other places - and I think that has something to do with it, and I think it took some time for them to catch on but they are certainly more convenient," says Kirstin Lundin.

But the business has never turned a profit, and many stores never opened - or closed down after a short run - like one in Glendale.

Now the company says it wants out of the U.S. grocery business and is looking to sell or possibly close all 200 locations.

"But if you come here at 8 o'clock at night or when everyone's getting off work - you can't even find a parking space. This is a very popular store," says Steele.

Aman Gill shops here all the time, but thinks the company was too ambitious.

"And they expanded I think a little too quick. They opened a ton of stores all at once, maybe they should have eased their way into the market and seen - hey this is where it works, and this is where it doesn't," he says.

Tesco says it is looking at all options, including selling Fresh & Easy stores or closing them all down - which would mean thousands of people would lose their jobs.

There should be a decision announced by April.

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