Tesco, Leaving U.S. Market, to Sell or Close 199 Fresh & Easy Stores

U.K.-based Tesco PLC is likely to sell or shut down its 199 Fresh & Easy grocery stores, exiting the U.S. market after five years of unprofitable activity. In announcing that the company would take a strategic review of Fresh & Easy, Tesco CEO Philip Clarke said in a statement "Whilst the business has many positives, its journey to scale and acceptable returns will take too long relative to other opportunities."

The company also announced that Fresh & Easy CEO Tim Mason would be leaving the company after 30 years' service, and that it has appointed Greenhill & Co. to conduct a strategic review of the chain. Potential buyers of some or all of the stores include Aldi and Walmart, according to published reports.

Tesco had launched the Fresh & Easy concept in 2007, offering a grocery store with fresh food offerings in a footprint that was larger than a convenience store but smaller than a typical supermarket. But the stores, located in California, Arizona and Nevada, faced strong competition and a difficult economic climate over the past four years.

Globally, Tesco is the world's third-largest retailer as measured by annual sales, trailing Walmart and France's Carrefour.

For related content: Fresh & Easy Tests Mobile Shopper Scanning Solution

Tesco Fresh & Easy Loses $259 Million But Outlook Improves

This ad will auto-close in 10 seconds