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    Fresh & Easy Has Bigger Plans for Arizona

    The chain could expand and open locations two miles apart from one another.

    EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market could soon cover the Arizona region known as the Valley by opening locations about two miles apart, providing roughly one store for every 20,000 residents, reported the East Valley Tribune.

    Speaking to retail industry leaders at a conference in Phoenix, Adam Mayfield, Fresh & Easy's director of real estate, stated that the Valley could easily support 100 stores.

    This comes after the company had publicly announced intentions to eventually operate only 160 locations in Arizona, California and Nevada, including 37 stores in the Valley, the report stated.

    Since unveiling the first Arizona stores in December 2007, the El Segundo, Calif.-based company has opened 19 locations in the Valley, according to the report.

    Mayfield reported that the chain's 4-month-long rollout in the Southwest has proceeded smoothly despite the downturn in the economy.

    "The reaction we've had from customers has been fantastic," he said. "We are aggressively expanding despite the economic trends in the market at the moment, and that's going to continue."

    He added that it has become easier to find store locations and secure commitments from developers now that the public is more familiar with the Fresh & Easy brand, the newspaper reported.

    "I think we're going to be a household name here before you know it," he said.

    Fresh & Easy is owned by the United Kingdom-based Tesco grocery company. The company is attempting to carve out its own niche within the crowded Valley grocery store industry by focusing on selling fresh, natural foods, ready-to-eat meals and daily necessities, according to the report.

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