business news in context, analysis with attitude

Tesco's Fresh & Easy chain of stores in the western US, despite mixed critical reaction from industry experts and the media, has a better consumer image than either of those two segments might expect, according to new figures released by Nielsen Online.

"Fifty-nine percent of sentiment toward Fresh & Easy was positive with consumers citing competitive pricing and convenience as purchase drivers," the report says. "Consumers generally view Fresh & Easy as a supplement rather than a replacement for their current grocers, and express a willingness to add Fresh & Easy to their shopping rotation to stock up on meat, inexpensive organics and other convenience-oriented products that might otherwise prove cost prohibitive in the current economic climate."

These views are not unanimous, however. "Thirty percent expressed negative or mixed sentiment toward Fresh & Easy. These consumers typically compared Fresh & Easy to the product assortment and prices of Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods and Wal-Mart," and apparently found the Tesco entry to be wanting.

KC's View:
This isn’t surprising. I've always felt that while many of us were disappointed by Fresh & Easy, it was entirely possible that the format might strike a chord with consumers looking for something different. Is it possible that Tesco is hearing things that the rest of us are missing? Certainly possible.

That doesn’t mean that Fresh & Easy is perfect, not by a long shot. But it may not be the disaster that some folks thought it was. Fresh & Easy is a work in progress….emphasize the word "progress."