The Yucaipa Companies LLC, a U.S. based private investment firm announced last week it is purchasing Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market from United Kingdom based Tesco PLC.
Yucaipa's purchase is expected to be complete within three months. It’s not yet clear which stores will close, but those that are not part of the deal will be shuttered in coming weeks. In the meantime it is business as usual for most Fresh & Easy stores, including Pacifica.
Not all Bay Area Fresh & Easy stores are staying open, however. The Bayview store in San Francisco has maybe a couple of weeks. All five Sacramento stores are also closing, and one or more in San Jose.
Fresh & Easy stores first opened in the region in 2007 with an unusual business model that used a smaller square footage than a traditional U.S. supermarket, leaving some shoppers comparing locations to Trader Joe’s.
Philip Clarke, CEO of Tesco, said in a prepared press release, “The decision we are announcing today represents the best outcome for Tesco shareholders and Fresh & Easy’s stakeholders. It offers us an orderly and efficient exit from the U.S. market, while protecting the jobs of more than 4,000 colleagues at Fresh & Easy.”
Ron Burkle, Managing Partner of Yucaipa said, “Fresh & Easy is a tremendous foundation. Tesco should be applauded for giving their customers an affordable, healthy, convenient shopping experience. Its dedicated employees and great base of customers give us a solid starting point to complete Tesco’s vision with some changes that we think will make it even more relevant to today’s consumer.
We plan on continuing to build Fresh & Easy into a “next-generation convenience retail experience,” providing busy consumers with more local and healthy access for their daily needs.”
As an investor, Yucaipa works with management to strategically reposition businesses and implement operational improvements, resulting in value creation for investors.
Patch will udpate this story as more information becomes available.