retail news in context, analysis with attitude

• Tesco-owned Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Markets, operating in California, Arizona and Nevada, said this week that it is donating more than $2.1 million to local schools as a result of its annual Shop for Schools fundraising program.

Fresh & Easy, which has donated more than six million dollars to schools since 2009, also pledged to bring back the program this fall ... though it is at least possible that Fresh & Easy won't be in business or won't be owned by Tesco by the time September 2013 rolls around - Tesco has said it is looking for an exit strategy in the US, whether it is selling all or part of the US division or just closing down the stores.

• The San Francisco Examiner has a blog post that speculates that Walmart is in discussion to acquire all or some of Fresh & Easy's Northern California stores, saying that reports to this effect seem to be circulating in both political and union circles.

Walmart denies any plans to acquire Fresh & Easy units.
KC's View:
I'd be surprised - and I think Tesco would be disappointed - if it still owns Fresh & Easy by the time the 2013-2014 school year begins. And while Walmart probably wants to downplay its interest in either all or specific Fresh & Easy locations so it does not end up in a bidding war, I would not be at all surprised if it jump-starts its small store initiatives with a Fresh & Easy acquisition.