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Supermarket Roundabout: Fresh & Easy Expansion Grinds to Halt

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The latest news isn't good for fans of Tesco's Fresh & Easy. As announced on the Fresh & Easy blog, and picked up everywhere, expansion has stopped for at least the next three months. The F&E blog explained it away as just a breather, which sort of makes sense. Via Chief Marketing Officer Simon Uwins: "So we've given ourselves a little bit of time to kick the tires, smooth out any wrinkles, and make some improvements that customers have asked for." Locally, this means delays in the opening of stores in Fountain Valley, Westminster, Fullerton and Orange. Also, no word on the Manhattan Beach store which as of last check was deep into construction. Most of the experts on the Retail Wire discussion boards seem to agree that the stop and reassessment was long overdue.
"Tesco should have called a time out before this. It isn't the case that Fresh & Easy is doomed as a format, it's the case that it WILL be doomed as a format if there isn't some course correction. The stores are mis-merchandised, mis-positioned and at least some of the locations are textbook examples on how not to select a site.

All that said, Tesco has enough resources--capital and human--to make this right. It's good business not to try to course-correct and expand at the same time."
Ryan Mathews, Founder, CEO, Black Monk Consulting

"I'm not too sure yet that Tesco's Fresh & Easy brings to the U.S. marketplace a compelling enough reason to draw the numbers of customers it needs to build short term success. The time off could possibly be part of the original timeline and plan, however, it would not surprise me if the time out was called to regroup and discuss some tweaks or adjustments. Good companies do that."
David Biernbaum, Senior Marketing and Business Development Consultant, David Biernbaum Associates
· UPDATE: Tesco Puts The Brakes On U.S. Expansion Of Fresh & Easy [CNN Money]
· Tesco halts Fresh & Easy openings to ’smooth out wrinkles’ [OC Register]