Fresh & Easy stores in California and beyond will soon be sold or closed, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.
Owned by Britain's Tesco, the 199-market grocery chain never quite caught on with American consumers.
Analysts said the recession was partly to blame—Fresh & Easy debuted in California, Nevada and Arizona in 2007, just as the economy was tanking. But, ultimately, shoppers didn't warm to the concept.
"Though it attracted a small group of loyalists, Fresh & Easy largely failed to capture the imagination of American consumers who proved unaccustomed to British-style ready meals, self-service cash registers and unfamiliar store layouts," the Journal said.
Tesco's CEO told the paper: "It's likely, but not certain, that our presence in America will come to an end."
Pacifica's Fresh & Easy, which has donated a lot of money to the community over the past year since first opening in March 2011, isn't going anywhere anytime soon, said Michael Zmerzlikar, store manager.
"All stores including us are in review, and then we go from there," Zmerzlikar told Patch from over the phone on Wednesday. "It could be a year from now that they find a suitor to buy us or to partner with. So they're getting ready to sell us but in the meantime we are open and it's business as usual."
Offers to buy all or part of the chain are already trickling in, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times.
In a prepared press release from Tesco, a Fresh & Easy spokeswoman Audrey Nguyen states: “Our focus remains on our people and our customers. It is business as usual in our stores and we look forward to bringing our neighbors the same delicious, wholesome and affordable food they have come to expect from Fresh & Easy.”
In the San Francisco Bay Area, Fresh & Easy's locations include Mountain View, Pacifica, Napa, Sunnyvale, two in Hayward and three each in San Jose and San Francisco.