Our New Supermarket Could Close Before It Even Opens

The DeLano's on South Van Ness closed exactly two years ago yesterday, striking a blow to anyone looking to buy Fruity Pebbles or days-old bagels past 9pm.  Things were all good within six months, when the British supermarket chain Fresh & Easy (not to be confused with the Mission-based garage rock, produce-free band The Fresh & Onlys) announced they were taking over the space, saving us from the nightmare of walking to Noe Valley to satisfy our not-so-late-night breakfast cereal cravings.

But after 18 months, almost nothing has been done to the space, save a few murals painted along it.  SocketSite got the heads up a few weeks back:

I LOVE [Fresh & Easy] but they just announced last week that they're stalling almost all of their US store openings due to the chain's inability to gain traction and likely won't open more than a couple more in the next year. I think the proposed ones (such as this and the South Van Ness location, which they still haven't begun work on) are unlikely to ever open.

Today, The Chronicle confirms the entire chain is likely to go away:

British supermarket chain Tesco is considering closing down its 200 American Fresh & Easy grocery stores - 19 in the Bay Area - after they failed to deliver acceptable shareholder returns, the company announced Wednesday…

Officials are not giving a timeline for the review, but have hired a private firm to assist them with the study and hope to announce some of its findings in April. In the third quarter this year, Fresh & Easy's sales fell 2 percent, according to the company.

Turns out spending $1.6b to open 200 stores near lousy housing developments before the subprime mortgage crisis hit ended up being a bad investment. Crazy.

Anyway, considering it was taking Fresh & Easy over two years just to get through the permitting process to open, we could see a real grocery store open in the neighborhood as soon as 2016.  Maybe that Rainbow Annex everyone has been dreaming about?

Comments (15)

“Turns out spending $1.6b to open 200 stores near lousy housing developments before the subprime mortgage crisis hit ended up being a bad investment. Crazy.”-From what i read in NYTimes was that they made profits,just not up to stockholders expectations. God forbid you have to invest TIME and money to get a return over a LONG period. They wanted profits in the short term.This is Capitalism at its finest…lol

Yeah that quote was worded strangely. I wonder if it isn’t PR-speak for “the stores are losing money” instead of meaning that they are making money, just not as much as the stockholders would have liked.

Per Market Place yesterday, Walmart of all companies is considering taking over the locations. You have a better dream then letting them into the City.

According to today’s NY Times (B3) “analysts” say Walmart could “bid for parts of it”. It also mentions some German discount chain as interested.

Does this mean we might get the Grocery Outlet that was the other contender for the site, instead?! God, I hope so! GROSSOUT RULES OK!

If you want fresh whole grain bread, bagels or cheese, and want to live around this neighborhood, you are some kind of fucking euro gentrifying monster. No store for you!

Thank god they sell all those things at FoodsCo, the cheapest store of them all. And they’re open until 1am!

considering it was taking Fresh & Easy over two years just to get through the permitting process

I see no way in which this could have anything to do with inner city neighborhoods being under-served by grocery stores.

I missed the part about being under served. Is that true here, or you are speaking in general terms about the state of the world? For me I can walk no more than a block and have fresh fruits and vegetables, fresh seafood, there is a butcher, and more bakeries than I can count. I walk a few more blocks afield there is a great deli, a pie shop, 3 full-blown supermarkets and a hippy co op. What is sorely laking are liquor stores!

How about a Wholefoods with a bunch of really expensive condos on top, just for shits
& giggles….

good news for Casa Maria.

Seems odd they’d expect the grocery business to grow significantly in 5 years. I don’t think Americans are getting fatter because we’re buying more groceries.

Nope, they’re just moving less.

Or maybe they just suck.

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