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    Tesco Considers All Options for Fresh & Easy

    A sale is one possibility as several suitors have shown interest in the chain.

    LONDON -- British Supermarket chain Tesco plc said today it is conducting a strategic review of Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Markets, and will consider all options regarding the chain.

    The parent company also announced that Tim Mason, CEO of Fresh & Easy, will leave Tesco.

    As CSNews Online reported, Tesco made a number of changes to its Fresh & Easy stores in 2012, including refurbishing some stores and closing others that were underperforming. The changes led Tesco CEO Philip Clarke to tell reporters in March that he expected Fresh & Easy to break even by as early as 2012. It is estimated that Fresh & Easy, which operates many U.S. c-stores, lost more than $1 billion in the past five years.

    Despite Clarke's forecasts, in August, he pushed back the Fresh & Easy break-even date to sometime in its 2013-2014 fiscal year.

    Most recently, on Oct. 26, CSNews Online reported that Fresh & Easy's days could be numbered as Tesco wants to focus on its home British market, as well as correcting slowing growth in some Asian markets.

    According to MarketWatch, Tesco its considering all options for its Fresh & Easy division because it cannot deliver acceptable shareholder returns in its current form. However, Tesco did note that that it has been contacted by several parties interested in purchasing either all or part of Fresh & Easy. It is not yet known who the potential suitors might be.

    Tesco is expected to provide a Fresh & Easy update when it reports its full fiscal-year earnings in April.

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