Fresh & Easy’s Modesto grocery store will close under a deal that will see most of the chain sold to Southern California billionaire Ron Burkle.
The deal with Burkle’s Yucaipa Cos. was announced today by Fresh & Easy, a subsidiary of British grocery conglomerate Tesco.
Burkle will buy more than 150 stores, as well as Fresh & Easy’s warehouse and production facility in Riverside. But the deal didn’t include the Modesto store – on Oakdale Road – or five in Sacramento.
Tesco opened 200 stores in California, Arizona and Nevada in the past few years. The Fresh & Easy in the Oakmore Plaza shopping center on Oakdale Road at Briggsmore Avenue opened in March 2011. That spring, Tesco also said stores were scheduled for Sylvan Square, at Sylvan Avenue and Coffee Road, and at Crows Landing Road and Whitmore Avenue, both in Modesto. But those locations never came to be.
Fresh & Easy’s stores were supposed to be the initial shot in a plan to open a total of 17 stores in the region. But the company faltered badly and announced in April that it was looking for a buyer.
It wasn’t clear how soon the stores will close. The company announced that “most products in these impacted stores will be reduced by 25 percent” starting today.
Full- and part-time employees will be “eligible for a generous separation package,” the company added.
Fresh & Easy’s small-store format never caught on with U.S. consumers. The stores are mostly about 16,000 square feet, a fraction of a traditional supermarket.