Friday, February 29, 2008

British Coming With 37 Regional Stores

British Coming With 37 Regional Stores
By Reporter Staff
Article Launched: 02/29/2008

A British firm that announced earlier this month its plans to build 18 stores in the Bay Area, including Fairfield, announced Thursday that it will build an additional 19 stores in the Sacramento region, including two in Vacaville.

Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market will begin opening its stores across the region in 2009, pending final negotiations, said company CEO Tim Mason.

In Vacaville, the two stores will set up in long-vacant storefronts including the former Ralphs at Nut Tree and Elmira and the former SaveMax site on Alamo Drive at Butcher Road.

Other locations in the Sacramento region will include several in Sacramento, Oak Park, Citrus Heights, Elk Grove, Folsom Rancho Cordova and Rocklin.

"The Sacramento region is a great fit for us - it is vibrant, fast-growing and widely known as having one of the most diverse populations in the U.S.," said Mason. "We're looking forward to bringing fresh, wholesome food at affordable prices to all types of neighborhoods throughout the Sacramento area."

The company announced earlier that it would also be building in Fairfield, Vallejo, Napa, Antioch, Concord, Danville, Mountain View, Oakland, San Jose, Walnut Creek, Hayward and San Francisco.

Mason said the company has "been very encouraged by the response to our stores thus far. Every single week brings more good news as sales, customer numbers and repeat visits are all growing."

Fresh & Easy currently has 55 grocery markets open throughout Southern California and in Nevada and Arizona. The company is a subsidiary of U.K.-based Tesco, one of the world's largest international retailers.

The stores are a new concept in grocery retailing. They measure up to about one-fifth the size of a typical grocery store, but shoppers can buy all of their groceries there.

And the chain prides itself on carrying products that don't contain added transfats, artificial flavors and contain as few preservatives as possible. It also carries a variety of organic produce and natural foods such as cage-free eggs and hormone-free meats.

Each store employs approximately 20 to 30 people. All Fresh & Easy employees work a minimum of 20 hours per week, which ensures everyone is eligible for comprehensive and affordable health care. Entry-level positions pay well over the minimum wage, starting at $10 an hour in California, and offer a quarterly bonus of up to 10 percent.

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