EL SEGUNDO, Calif. - Tesco€™s Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market Stores have not garnered the consumer support as expected when the chain first appeared on U.S. soil in 2007, Progressive Grocer reports. The British grocer moved into the West Coast market four years ago, but that expansion has not boosted sales.
Fresh & Easy has lost more than $894 million since 2007. Some shareholders have pointed to the stiff competition in Southern California with its Trader Joe€™s and Costcos as part of the reason for the less-than-stellar performance.
Tesco also misjudged U.S. customers€™ love affair with frozen food and will beef up that section in its Fresh & Easy stores. Also, the stores refused manufacturers€™ coupons, which disgruntled shoppers, too.
"They were unlucky. They went out to the U.S. at a very bad time," said William Hobbs, who manages assets at Barclays Wealth. "But really they didn't get their offer right. It's a very difficult, competitive market."
The strategy to revive the chain includes opening new U.S. locations, said Tesco CEO Philip Clarke. Also on the agenda is Fresh & Easy€™s first TV commercial blitz and in-store bakeries testing at around 175 stores. Clarke predicted that he would stem the losses within two years.
Fresh & Easy also added 1,500 products to its shelves, as well as refreshing stores with brighter colors. "We're very confident that we've got Fresh & Easy in a place that customers like it. We've just got to get more customers into it," said Simon Uwins, Fresh & Easy€™s chief marketing officer.