Three Fresh & Easy stores in San Diego closed their doors Thursday as part of the grocery chain’s nation-wide downsizing.
The locations, in Santee, El Cajon, and Escondido, have been scheduled for closure since April after Fresh & Easy’s parent company, Tesco, announced plans to sell its U.S. stores based in Arizona, California and Nevada. At the time, the company said its U.S. foray had lost it some $1.8 billion.
Stores slated for closure on Thursday held a 75 percent off sale as part of a selling event which it announced to its email subscribers last week.
“Customers were sad to see us go,” said Kenny Taylor, a Team Lead at the chain’s Santee location who was at the store Thursday. “Business the first couple of days [of this week] picked up a lot, and we had some of the biggest sales numbers we’ve ever had.”
Taylor added that the crowds decreased a great deal on Thursday and not much of the stock was left by the time they closed their doors around 1 p.m.
Tesco, Britain's largest retailer by sales, agreed to sell 150 of its loss-making Fresh & Easy stores in the U.S. to Yucaipa Companies, a private investment firm. The deal left 50 of the chain's 200 stores scheduled for closure including several locations in the Los Angeles area.
According to Tesco chief executive Philip Clarke, more than 4,000 jobs will be protected by the chain's sale.