Fresh & Easy Buys Suppliers

Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market here last week said it has agreed to acquire the California operations of two of its fresh-product suppliers that had come over from the U.K. with the Tesco-owned chain. The suppliers 2 Sisters and Wild Rocket Foods both have operations near the Fresh & Easy distribution center in Riverside, Calif., a spokesman for Fresh & Easy told SN. 2 Sisters

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market here last week said it has agreed to acquire the California operations of two of its fresh-product suppliers that had come over from the U.K. with the Tesco-owned chain.

The suppliers — 2 Sisters and Wild Rocket Foods — both have operations near the Fresh & Easy distribution center in Riverside, Calif., a spokesman for Fresh & Easy told SN. 2 Sisters purchases meat, fish and poultry, and Wild Rocket purchases produce for the Fresh & Easy warehouse. The chain said it planned to retain all 750 employees of the two operations.

Terms of the acquisitions were not disclosed.

The acquisitions will help the chain better serve its expanding “Kitchen” operation of prepared foods, Brendan Wonnacott, the Fresh & Easy spokesman, told SN.

“We are expanding our Kitchen concept after sales have exceeded all targets despite having fewer stores than we originally planned,” he said. “They are both located in the same business park, and it made sense to bring them into our operations.”

Wonnacott said the company's launch in March of the Eat Well line of prepared foods has been well-received, which helped spur the investment in the supply operations.

“The bottom line is that for us, these products have been extremely successful,” he added.

The moves will also help launch a “global sourcing hub” in California for acquiring product from the state to supply Tesco's far-flung operations, Wonnacott told SN.

Fresh & Easy operates about 160 small-format stores in the Southwest focusing largely on prepared and partially prepared foods and private labels.