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    Fresh & Easy Sets Opening Date for First Smaller-Format Store

    The Express concept, which will range between 4,000 and 5,000 square feet, will open by Jan. 1 in San Pedro, Calif.

    EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Seven months after plans were first revealed for smaller-format stores, the Tesco-owned Fresh & Easy chain is one step closer to opening its first Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market Express.

    The new format, which will be between 4,000 and 5,000 square feet, is roughly half the size of a traditional Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market, which has about 10,000 square feet of selling space, according to the company's blog, freshandeasybuzz.

    As reported by the DailyBreeze.com, the company has signed a lease for space at the southwest corner of Sixth and Gaffey streets in San Pedro, Calif. A hearing for the store's beer and wine licenses is scheduled for Sept. 21, and plans call for the Express store to open by this Thanksgiving -- or Jan. 1 at the latest.

    Fresh & Easy has experienced a growth spurt this year. In November, the company said it was on target to open 10 new stores in southern California in early 2011. In addition, the chain set its sights on northern California, opening its first two stores in San Francisco. One opened in late June; the other is slated to open at the end of August, as CSNews Online previously reported.

    The company's drive is getting notice. Fresh & Easy recently landed at the No. 3 spot on the STORES Hot 100 Retailers list. The annual list highlights retail companies that reported the greatest increase in domestic sales between 2009 and 2010.

     

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