Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market deputed a smaller format this month with its first Fresh & Easy Express in a densely populated segment of Los Angeles. At only 3,000 square feet, the store is less than one-third the size of the company’s standard 10,000-square-foot model. It will only house approximately 2,700 SKUs, which is half the 5,500 generally sold at its larger stores. Additionally, the Express store has only five aisles, while the traditional F&E format has eight. 

The store is located at a corner location on a lot that formerly housed a car dealership. The area is primary residential. The abnormal real estate was chosen “because the La Cienega corridor is a tough area in which to find space for a full-sized Fresh & Easy,” according to Fresh & Easy executives. 

Owned by UK-based Tesco, Fresh & Easy reportedly has plans to open four more Express locations in Southern California before the company’s fiscal year ends in late February 2012: in Hermosa Beach, Seal Beach, Laguna Niguel and San Pedro

The five new stores will serve as a test for a possible expansion of the smaller format, and Fresh & Easy is not deserting its original 10,000-square-foot model. If successful, the company will likely utilize the smaller Express format in neighborhoods that are highly ‘walkable’ with less dependency on personal automobiles, as evidenced by the first stores’ minimal parking of only 22 spaces.

Brian List, Research Editor 
Brian has been with Chain Store Guide since December 2006. He holds a bachelors degree in Marketing Management from Florida Southern College. Please contact him if you have questions or comments.