Whatever the outcome of a strategic review by its parent company Tesco, Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market stores plan to remain open.
The review, begun in December for United Kingdom-based Tesco by investment bank Greenhill & Co., raised the prospect that the grocer might pull out of the U.S. market.
But now, on its Facebook page, Fresh & Easy is trying to calm customers.
"While we don"t know exactly what the outcome of this strategic review process will be, we want to assure you we don"t have plans to close stores and we"re confident Fresh & Easy can continue to be your favorite neighborhood market," accordign to the company"s Jan. 31 posting.
With a logo, "Fresh & Easy Still Fighting the Good Food Fight," the company announced a campaign that will include radio advertising.
About 200 of the small-format markets operate in California, Nevada and Arizona. Tesco"s U.S. business began in 2007.
Philip Clarke, Tesco chief executive officer, said in December that returns haven"t been adequate to sustain its investment, estimated at close to $1.6 billion.
"It is now clear that Fresh & Easy will not deliver acceptable shareholder returns on an appropriate timeframe in its current form," he said in a statement.
Clarke said other companies had expressed interest in buying all or part of the Fresh & Easy chain, or in partnering with the U.S. company.
Fresh & Easy"s initial commitment to packaged produce hurt them, Don Goodwin, president of Golden Sun Marketing, Minnetrista, Minn., told The Packer in December. The West Coast sells less packaged produce than any region of the country, he said.