We kick off a new series called "Central." We’ll be road tripping up Central Avenue, from South Mountain to North Mountain over the next few weeks.
Fresh & Easy Is Sold, Stores Will Close
The British-owned chain of Fresh & Easy grocery stores has been sold to a billionaire from California, and some locations will be closing.
British retailer Tesco has operated Fresh & Easy stories in California, Arizona and Nevada since 2007. Fresh & Easy is known for a smaller store format with ready-to-eat food, but breaking into the crowded American grocery market proved harder than expected. The company struggled to make money and had announced back in April that it was selling its stores.
The winning bid came from the California investment-firm Yucaipa, which is owned by billionaire Ron Burkle. Yucaipa takes over about 150 stores.
"Its dedicated employees and great base of customers give us a solid starting point to complete Tesco's vision with some changes that we think will make it even more relevant to today's consumer," Burkle said in a statement. "We plan on continuing to build Fresh & Easy into a 'next-generation convenience retail experience.'"
Fresh & Easy did not immediately say which would close, but it said in a statement on its website that the sale saved about 4,000 jobs. Fresh & Easy operates about 25 stores in the Phoenix area.
Updated 9/10/2013 at 5:37 p.m.