The Future of Fresh & Easy? (Video)

Reorganization sets stage for chain to tackle made-to-order foodservice, fresh food products

By 
Steve Holtz, Editor in Chief, CSP Daily News

Fresh & Easy Smarter Market

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Calling it the "smarter market," made-to-order sandwiches and pizzas, a hot-food bar, space to eat inside and a revamped selection of products are part of the new strategy hinted at by Fresh & Easy executives this week, according to Facebook posts and other sources.

Two days after executives from Fresh & Easy announced plans to close and sell dozens of stores—while reiterating their desire to be the “model of modern convenience”—details of the reorganization plan have trickled out in various media reports.

While Fresh & Easy confirmed the basics of the announcement in a two-paragraph statement, the initial news was gleaned from a now-removed YouTube video featuring CEO Jim Keyes, the former leader of 7-Eleven Inc.

In it, according to a CBS Los Angeles report, he said the company had identified about 50 locations that “we truly believe are better suited to a different type of retail,” noting that many of those would be closing in the next few weeks. Further reports show all the locations will be closed by April 1.

In its follow-up statement, Fresh & Easy said that after a year and a half under ownership by Yucaipa Co., “The company is now in a better position to rationalize its store base and divest locations that do not meet the criteria of Fresh & Easy’s model of modern convenience.”

While reports vary and Fresh & Easy did not offer specifics, it appears the company will close and sell at least 50 of its about 167 retail sites in California, Nevada and Arizona:

  • Two in Las Vegas
  • Five in Arizona
  • 13 in Northern California
  • 30 in Southern California

Through all the changes, the company’s goal is to become “the only fresh-food convenience store” in the United States.

“This transformation was always going to be a challenge, but the company has accomplished several major initiatives,” the company said, “including a massive renovation project and relaunch in Las Vegas with an all-new fresh-food concept.”

On its Facebook page, a video (see below) posted in December shows “a behind-the-scenes look at the transformation of one of our Las Vegas Fresh & Easy stores into The Smarter Market.”

“Some of the exciting changes include a new ‘Fresh To Go’ hot-food bar with made-to-order sandwiches and pizzas, a more open and modern store layout, and a revamped product selection with a more abundant selection of natural and organic products and fresh food, a coffee, tea and espresso bar, a new beverage bar featuring freshly pressed orange juice, draft soda and kombucha, and many other great changes!” the post states.

Other parts of the relaunch include a new e-commerce Click & Collect service that will serve as a test for a wider rollout. Fresh & Easy has also transformed its food manufacturing business by building a third-party business model out of its Riverside commissary facilities, the company said.

Steve Holtz, CSP/Winsight By Steve Holtz, Editor in Chief, CSP Daily News
View More Articles By Steve Holtz