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Tesco Says U.S. Exit Is 'On Track'

CHESHUNT, England — Tesco plc here said Wednesday its previously announced effort to exit the U.S. “continues on track.”

“We will update the market as appropriate," the company said in it first-quarter financial release. It was the only reference in the release to the Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market chain, based in El Segundo, Calif., which operates 200 stores in California, Arizona and Nevada.

When Tesco reported in April its financial results for the fiscal year that ended Feb. 23, it said it was treating Fresh & Easy as a discontinued operation and taking a write-down of approximately $1.5 billion. The loss in the U.S. totaled $1.8 billion (U.S.) for the fiscal year, compared with a loss of $533.6 million a year earlier.

More Fresh & Easy News: Equipment on the Auction Block

“Leaving the U.S. is the right thing to do,” Philip Clarke, Tesco’s chief executive officer, said at the time. Tesco also said in April it had received “a lot of interest” in Fresh & Easy — for the whole business and for groups of stores.

According to Laurie McIlwee, chief financial officer, “What we’re most interested in is buyers that are interested in buying the complete business,” adding that “a clean sale would remove redundancy and lease issues.”

Separately, Fresh & Easy Fresh & Easy said this week it plans to extend its TGIF&Easy promotion for another month, giving customers an opportunity to receive a free item every Friday during June. Each week the chain will announce a Friday-only deal on its website, Facebook page and by email to its Friends loyalty program members.

Featured this week are 2-liter bottles of a Coca Cola products, which will be given away free to customers who purchase Fresh & Easy's Kitchen-to-Go chicken fettucini alfredo family meal.

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