Sell off of Fresh & Easy supermarkets to affect local stores

British supermarket giant Tesco said it is considering selling its Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market stores and will probably leave the United States altogether -- a move that will affect several locations in the region, including two in Burbank.

The sprawling retailer, which owns more than 6,000 stores worldwide, has already received inquiries from companies interested in acquiring all or part of Fresh & Easy, Tesco said Wednesday in a statement. 

Fresh & Easy's chief executive, Tim Mason, is also leaving after three decades at Tesco, the company said.

The Fresh & Easy chain launched in 2007 with much fanfare and high ambitions of creating a network of hundreds of smaller-format stores on the West Coast.

But the supermarkets never proved profitable. In October, Tesco announced plans to cut back on investing in the chain after closing 12 stores earlier in the year. There are still nearly 200 locations open in California, Arizona and Nevada.

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-- Shan Li, Los Angeles Times

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