The British are leaving, the British are leaving!
Fresh & Easy stores in Southern California and beyond will soon be closed or sold, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.
Owned by Britain's Tesco, the 199-market chain never quite caught on with American consumers.
"We’re considering all options for the business, but it’s likely that the review will lead to Tesco exiting the US market," wrote chief executive Philip Clarke in a blog post on the company website.
Analysts said the recession was partly to blame -- Fresh & Easy debuted in California, Nevada and Arizona in 2007, just as the economy was tanking. But, ultimately, consumers didn't warm to the concept.
"Though it attracted a small group of loyalists, Fresh & Easy largely failed to capture the imagination of American consumers who proved unaccustomed to British-style ready meals, self-service cash registers and unfamiliar store layouts," the Journal said.
Tesco's CEO told the paper: "It's likely, but not certain, that our presence in America will come to an end."
Earlier this year Fresh and Easy had proposed establishing a Sierra Madre location at the corner of Baldwin Ave. and Sierra Madre Blvd. -- the location where Taylor's Ol' Fashioned Meat currently sits. The project was met with heated debate stemming from several residents who were opposed to a chain replacing Taylor’s. Fresh and Easy ultimately withdrew its request to the city for a project review on July 18, 2012.
The closest Fresh and Easy to Sierra Madre residents is now in Pasadena. Other Los Angeles County locations include Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, Palos Verdes Estates, Long Beach, Pico-Robertson, Encino, Hollywood, Northridge, Eagle Rock, Oak Park, North Hollywood, Van Nuys, and many more.