Update 8:04 p.m. Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market representatives released the following statement Wednesday afternoon on the grocer chain's Facebook page:
You may have read today that our parent company, Tesco, has announced a ‘strategic review’ of fresh&easy. We wanted to reassure you, as our friends and greatest supporters, that we are open for business as usual and we look forward to bringing the same delicious, wholesome, and affordable food and the same great service that you have come to expect from us every day.
We appreciate all of the support and affirmations of “We ♥ fresh&easy” from our community of team members, neighbors and customers that we’ve been seeing today!
Posted 7:54 p.m. Milpitas residents who shop at Fresh & Easy may be concerned about news Wednesday of the grocery chain's British parent company, which announced it may sell its stores in the U.S., including those in the Bay Area.
The nearest Fresh & Easy to Milpitas is about three miles west of town at 4150 N. 1st St. in San Jose.
Officials with the parent company, Tesco, announced Wednesday in a news release they were undertaking a "strategic review of Fresh & Easy" with "all options under consideration."
Tesco's chief executive Philip Clarke said he'd spent the past year trying to improve Fresh & Easy's performance.
"In October, we announced that new capital investment in Fresh & Easy was to be tightly constrained whilst the business focused on reducing costs and improving the profitability of its existing stores," the Tesco statement said. "It is now clear that Fresh & Easy will not deliver acceptable shareholder returns on an appropriate timeframe in its current form."
In January 2012, the chain announced the closure of 12 underperforming stores in the U.S. including seven in California - in Anaheim, Bakersfield, Baldwin Park, Fountain Valley, Fresno, Hemet and Ontario. The other locations were in Phoenix and Las Vegas.
Tesco began aggressive investment in starting Fresh & Easy in California and other states about five years ago. Strategies included brand-new stores and locally-targeted mailers, fliers and coupon campaigns to build customer base and loyalty.
Fresh & Easy's website states the business operates 199 stores in California, Arizona and Nevada.
"We have created more than 5,000 jobs, with over 4,000 in California," the Fresh & Easy website states.
Early Wednesday, the BBC reported Fresh & Easy's parent company, Tesco, was launching the review that could lead to sale or closure of its U.S.-based Fresh & Easy chain.
Also before noon Wednesday, CNN Money in London reported the Fresh & Easy chain had been put up for sale, as U.K. retail powerhouse Tesco admitted defeat in its attempt to take on established supermarkets in the United States.
On the East Coast in the U.S., the New York Times reported Tesco had been approached by several parties to buy all or parts of Fresh & Easy, and Tesco said it might also team up with other companies.