Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market opened its 100th store this week, just a year after officially launching its presence on the West Coast of the U.S.
The expansion watermark was timed with less celebratory news, however, as CEO Tim Mason told UK media outlet The Times of London that Tesco – Fresh & Easy’s parent company in the UK – may put new-store expansion plans on hold because of the recessionary environment in the U.S.
Fresh & Easy was hoping to have 200 stores throughout its tri-state market (California, Nevada and Arizona) by February. More than likely, that target will have to be pushed back to November of next year, The Times reported.
Elected officials, hundreds of customers and neighbors in Fullerton, California joined Fresh & Easy CEO Tim Mason to mark the event. Just one year after officially opening its first store in the Glassell Park neighborhood of Los Angeles, the company now operates 100 stores in Southern California, Arizona and Nevada.
At the opening of store No. 100 in California this week, Mason pointed out a few ways the retailer is starting to change the way Americans shop.
“We’ve built a unique business from the ground up by listening to what Americans want in a grocery market,” Mason said. “They told us they wanted fresh, quality foods at prices they could afford. They told us they wanted to get the groceries and staples they need in one easy-to-shop location. And, they told us they wanted stores close to where they live.
“One year and 100 stores later, the response from customers to our offer has surpassed our expectations,” Mason said. “Both internal and independent research regularly confirms customers like the quality and prices of our food, as well as the convenient locations of our stores.”
Mason said the Fresh & Easy format is well suited for cost-conscious consumers in the current economic tumult in the U.S.
“We’ve reintroduced the quality and service of a neighborhood market but at budget prices that everyone can afford,” he said.
Over the past year, some of Fresh & Easy’s accomplishments have included: