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Fans of Fresh & Easy on edge about store chain's future

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Reported by: Amber Dixon
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Updated: 12/06/2012 6:43 am
LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3) -- There was no lack of customers Wednesday evening at the Fresh & Easy on Tropicana Avenue and Nellis Boulevard. But news it could close disappointed some.

“I love coming here,” said mother Nettie Mowery.

But it's possible the store could be sold or even get a partner.

The neighborhood market's British owner, Tesco, will make that decision after a strategic review of its U.S. venture.

“Fresh & Easy opened five years ago. In that time, we have not been able to deliver shareholder returns in a time frame that works for our shareholders,” said Brendan Wonnacott, director of corporate affairs for Fresh & Easy.

University of Nevada Las Vegas economics professor Stephen Brown said Fresh & Easy’s unique business model of already prepared food may have found tough competition in the Las Vegas Valley, an area already saturated with grocery stores.

“This is a very competitive grocery store market,” Brown said. “One of the most competitive I've ever seen.”

But all 199 Fresh & Easy stores in the U.S. are at risk.

Wonnacott said he does not know when changes will start or if any employees will lose jobs.

“We're going to look after our employees,” Wonnacott said. “Right now it is business as usual, and we're working hard to make sure we continue to deliver for everybody who works for us and who shops with us.”

More answers could come in April when Fresh & Easy's financial results for 2012 are released.
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