One industry observer, who asked not to be identified, told SN that Tesco's Fresh & Easy concept is projecting a confusing message to U.S. consumers.
“If you're going to do a small-format store, you have to differentiate yourself with price or merchandise mix, and while Fresh & Easy is doing a little of each, it is not conveying any clear message to consumers,” he said.
“The stores look unfinished, with no sense of the excitement or merchandising prowess Tesco has in the U.K.,” he added. “There are some items you would expect to see in upscale, cosmopolitan areas, such as boxed curries or quince with cheese, that certainly wouldn't fly in some working-class neighborhoods. And it doesn't make sense to have wrapped produce in an area with so many Hispanic shoppers, who like to touch and feel the merchandise.
“So Tesco has to decide who it wants to be — a low-cost convenience provider in working-class neighborhoods, or an international merchant in more upscale neighborhoods. But it can't be all things to all people.”