retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The freshandeasybuzz blog reports that Tesco's Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Markets division in the US has made the decision to cut back on store hours in 33 of its 199 stores in California, Arizona and Nevada, moving from an 8 am-10 pm schedule to 9 am-8 pm.

The move, according to the story, allows Fresh & Easy to lay off a number of employees as it seeks profitability for the US division.
KC's View:
The "insider" who writes the blog has a great piece of tongue in cheek analysis worth sharing...

Grocery stores that are doing well don't close at 8 p.m., unless they're doing so well that opening them any later would prove to be an embarrassment of riches to a modest grocery retailer. And grocers who want their stores to do well don't close them at 8 p.m.

And, he goes on to write:

If a grocer decides to close a bunch of stores, like 33 of its 199 units, at 8 p.m. rather than the previous 10 p.m., you can take it to the bank the company CEO has very little if any faith in the future potential of those stores.

Now, maybe this is just a matter of being efficient. But 8 pm does sound awfully early to close a supermarket.

I've resisted for a long time the idea that Tesco would pull the plug on the Fresh & Easy experiment, though i've long believed that if someone were to come along and write a check, it wouldn't take much to convince management back in the US to take it and run. But now I'm beginning to wonder if Tesco CEO Philip Clarke is convinced that there is no pot of gold at the end of the US rainbow, and is looking for the exit.