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Fresh & Easy Stores May Close

The British-based grocery chain prepares to pull the plug on its 199 U.S. markets.

Fresh & Easy Stores May Close Fresh & Easy Stores May Close

This British are leaving, the British are leaving!

Fresh & Easy stores in California and beyond will soon be sold or closed, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.

Owned by Britain's Tesco, the 199-market chain—which currently operates a Temecula location on Margarita Road—never quite caught on with American consumers, the news report indicated.

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."

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