It’s official. The British owners of the Fresh & Easy announced today they will sell or close the five-year-old grocery chain, taking a $1.8 billion write-off in the process, according to the L.A. Times. That means the Fresh & Easy on Eagle Rock Boulevard in Glassell Park, one of the chain’s first stores, will become empty space for a while or be quickly taken over by another chain. Fresh & Easy had also begun the process of preparing to open an outlet in Echo Park last year before that effort stalled as Tesco, the chain’s British parent, began exploring the possibility of losing down the money-losing operation.
Tesco, in a financial report issued today, confirmed it’s “exit from the United States” as part of its strategic review and “indications of interest received from third parties” for the 200-store Fresh & Easy operation. Who might those third parties be? Some have speculated that likely buyers might include Wal-Mart, which is preparing to open a small neighborhood market in Chinatown, or the favorite of every up-and-coming neighborhood and suburb, Trader Joe’s. Stay tuned.