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Fresh & Easy to close tri-county stores

By   /   Wednesday, October 21st, 2015  /   Comments Off on Fresh & Easy to close tri-county stores

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The El Segundo-based grocer Fresh & Easy will close all of its stores throughout California, Arizona and Nevada, including seven tri-county locations, the company announced Oct. 21.

Tesco, the third largest global retailer based in the United Kingdom, opened the small format grocery chain in 2007. It filed for bankruptcy protection in 2013 after the concept struggled to take hold in the states. Tesco invested about $1.6 billion in Fresh & Easy.

Los Angeles-based venture capital firm Yucaipa Companies, backed by investor Ron Burkle, purchased the chain and its 167 stores in 2014.

The company reduced the number of stores, decreased its staff by transitioning to all self-checkout kiosks and offered more ready-to-eat meals.

“Since transitioning to new ownership over a year ago, Fresh & Easy has reinvigorated its brand and its stores with the aim of fulfilling a new mission — saving customers time by making fresh and natural food more available and affordable,” the company wrote on its website.

Fresh & Easy announced it was pulling out of the U.S. on Oct. 21. About 100 stores will close; there were 200 locations at its peak.

“Over the last two years, we have been working hard to build a new Fresh & Easy. While we made progress on stemming our losses and moving the business closer to break even, unfortunately we have been unable to obtain financing and the liquidity necessary to continue to fund the business going forward,” company spokesman Brendan Wonnacott said in a prepared statement. “As we start the process for an organized wind down of the business, we continue to work to sell all or part of the business.”

The seven stores in the Tri-Counties include 2238 Broad St. in San Luis Obispo, 4869 S. Bradley Road in Oxnard, 336 N. Milpas St. in Santa Barbara, 2260 E. Thompson Blvd. in Ventura, 1750 E. Channel Islands in Oxnard, 144 W. Los Angeles Ave. in Moorpark, and 4473 Alamo St. in Simi Valley.

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