June 19, 2009

Not Quite So Easy (And A Little Less Fresh For Now)

5800 Third Street: Rendering

Tesco's plans to open three new Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Markets in San Francisco have been slowed down with mid-2010 now looking to be the first opening.

The store in Bayview was planned for a new mixed-use building currently being built at Third Street and Carroll Avenue by Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group. The group’s managing director, Alicia Glen, said Fresh & Easy’s delay has slowed construction of the building by several months. However, she had met with Fresh & Easy executives recently and they affirmed the chain is still committed to the project.

The development of a Fresh & Easy in the Portola neighborhood and another on at Clement and 32nd Avenue in the Richmond have been "delayed indefinitely."

U.K. grocery chain to put S.F. expansion on hold [Examiner]
5800 Third Street: Development Starting Back Up (Delivery In 2010) [SocketSite]

First Published: June 19, 2009 7:15 AM

Comments from "Plugged In" Readers

Fresh and Easy is bloody rubbish. I've been to one in SoCAl and it's like a ghetto version of Trader Joe's.

Posted by: BobbyS at June 19, 2009 9:08 AM

This is more than just SF, Tesco has pulled back on their entire surge into the California market.

Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at June 19, 2009 9:32 AM

Speaking of grocery stores, with the US Postal Service set to ditch Embarcadero Postal Center at Main and Harrison, wouldn't that be a nice block to have a Trader Joe's, Fresh & Easy, or something like that? All the folks walking from Embarcadero Station's BART stop to events at AT&T Park and other waterfront spots could stop in to get their affordable food and such ... just sayin' :)

Posted by: jamie at June 19, 2009 9:52 AM

All questionable locations, which while in need of traditional grocery stores, there is a clear reason why they had to go after a foreign company...

All the domestic grocery stores know that with limited development and expansion budgets, these areas have been avoided for a reason.

Also the Main and Harrison block is far too valuable for a grocery store. Plus, people generally don't walk past this site to get anywhere, so the clear use is office/industrial/residential, not retail.

Posted by: Jimmy C at June 19, 2009 11:48 AM

Too bad, Portolo certainly could use a grocery store.

I hope they go through with the one in Bayview, this is another area that really needs it.

Posted by: NoeValleyJim at June 19, 2009 12:14 PM

Jimmy, I assume that Jamie meant a TJ's on the bottom floor of a very tall tower

Posted by: anon at June 19, 2009 12:19 PM

I'm not familiar with Fresh and Easy, but I'm not so sure that people would want to stand in a typical Trader Joe's line for a few items to take to the ballpark. Also, if by affordable you mean a grocery store, there's a Safeway a half block away from PacBell Park.

Posted by: nnona at June 19, 2009 12:26 PM

Even at the bottom of a tall tower, the retail numbers don't add up for a Trader Joes or any other moderately capitalized player. Grocery Stores have razor thin margins. The TJ profit model is people filling up a shopping cart with reasonably priced items (think a case of charles shaw, not just a bottle). This location does not fit the model.


Plus it would siphon away traffic from their 9th and Bryant location. Whole Foods has 4th and Harrison and Safeway has 4th and King, so I wouldn't expect any of the major players to jump into this neighborhood.

The people who purchased condos in the Rincon area should know that a legit grocery store within 2-3 blocks is not going to happen just at those at 3rd and Carroll will need to make due with liquor stores and pay day loan outlets.

Posted by: Jimmy C at June 19, 2009 12:58 PM

"Questionable locations"? 32nd and Clement is one block from Seacliff. The abandoned hulk of the old store is adjacent to the golf course. That neighborhood is full of shoppers who would prefer a fresh new grocery store (with a massive parking lot) to the Safeways at Ocean beach or 8th and Clement or the dowdy Delanos at 28th and Geary.

Too bad they can't make it pay.

Posted by: DavidQ at June 21, 2009 10:49 PM

While the 32nd and Clement is not as horrible as the other locations, from a retail perspective, it's not great and is questionable due to the fact that it has not been able to support retail in the past. A list locations are not "abandoned".

When you run a thin margin retail business, you need critical mass, so having one good store and two horrible stores would not cover distribution costs. None of these are A list locations and you would need at least one over performer to prop up the average and under performers.

The only way to be profitable long term is to have a significant number of performing and out performing locations in a region.

Plus, Fresh and Easy is no Whole Foods... it's not even Trader Joes, it won't appeal to Sea Cliff residents, or their personal shoppers, who will simply truck the Porche Cayenne over to Whole Foods and Costco.

Posted by: Jimmy C at June 22, 2009 9:08 AM

Fresh & Easy is actually a pretty good market.
I've been to one in Las Vegas and found them to be just as cheap as TJs and a lot more organized.

Posted by: jackson at May 17, 2010 10:38 PM

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