Fresh & Easy Expands to Central California

Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Markets opened its first two stores yesterday in Bakersfield, Calif., located about 150 miles north of Los Angeles.

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Markets opened its first two stores yesterday in Bakersfield, Calif., located about 150 miles north of Los Angeles. The two stores — and the seven scheduled to follow in the area — are the chain’s northernmost sites in California, although the company said last month it was delaying plans for a full-scale move into the San Francisco Bay Area and Sacramento in Northern California because of the weak economy.

The Bakersfield stores feature “extremely” local produce, given that Grimmway Farms, which supplies carrots to all Fresh & Easy stores, is located in Bakersfield. Fresh & Easy is operated by U.K.-based Tesco; since November 2007 the company has opened more than 100 small-format stores in Southern California, Las Vegas and Phoenix.

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