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LAS VEGAS — The new Fresh & Easy is “a company built on fresh ideas,” according to Mike Evans, vice president of marketing, who recently discussed with CSNews Online the chain’s new direction.
After filing for bankruptcy in September 2013 and then transitioning to new ownership in November of the same year from London-based Tesco plc to Los Angeles-based The Yucaipa Cos. LLC, the Fresh & Easy chain, which operates in California, Arizona and Nevada, has spent much of its time and effort “transforming into a new business, focused on delivering a new vision of modern convenience,” Evans explained.
In March, Fresh & Easy rationalized its store base and divested locations that did not meet the criteria of its new model of “modern convenience,” according to Evans, who said the move allows the company to redeploy capital into development and growth, including a 3,000- to 5,000-square-foot store model to provide a higher level of convenience and greater density.
Fresh & Easy’s newly christened “fresh food convenience store” model — as Evans calls it — is being remodeled and reintroduced to customers as the “Smarter Market.”
The chain relaunched in Las Vegas with an all-new fresh food concept that includes a Fresh To Go hot food bar; a more open, modern feel and store layout; and a revamped product selection with lower fixtures and a more abundant selection of fresh food.
“Innovation is at the core of everything a Smarter Market does. From the hundreds of new, unique fresh products introduced this year, to eggs stamped with a laid-on date, to an in-store growler program and the first USDA-certified grab-and-go sandwiches and salads in America, Fresh & Easy is delivering its promise to be a destination for value and products that don’t exist anywhere else,” the VP stated.
Fresh & Easy is not stopping there, though. The retailer is now working with ADMI, the innovative firm behind the design of the Apple Store, to design the Fresh & Easy store of the future.
Using many of its Las Vegas stores as a test market to implement even more new ideas and concepts, “we are going to constantly fine-tune our ideas,” Evans told CSNews Online.
One of the new ideas is its Click & Collect e-commerce service that allows Las Vegas shoppers to buy online and pick up the purchased items at the store. Like many of the concepts tested in Las Vegas, this is currently serving as a pilot for a potential chainwide rollout.
For more on Fresh & Easy’s transformation, look in the August issue of Convenience Store News.