LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Fresh & Easy announced Friday via YouTube that they were closing about 50 stores, including 30 in the Southland.
The announcement came from CEO Jim Keyes in a 7 and one-half minute video explaining the decision to "the Fresh & Easy team."
He said, "I'm coming to you today with some important news."
He explained that the company wanted to give every location a chance to succeed but that some -- due to physical limitation (like size of the parking lot) were just not performing to expectations.
"We've identified about 50 locations," he said, "that we believe truly are better suited to a a different type of retail."
Many of these stores, he said, would be closing in the next few weeks.
Employees contacted at some of the targeted stores told CBS2 and KCAL9 that they were given an April 3 closing date.
Fresh & Easy has stores in California, Nevada and Arizona.
KCAL9's Jasmine Viel reported from Compton, one of the 30 stores closing locally.
Residents told her the store leaving the area would be a big blow.
"We are kind of disappointed you know? No other store like this in the area," said M. Bumpers who was shopping with his wife, Cheryl.
Store employee Jay Liebel, on the fast track to becoming a store manager, was also shocked by the news.
He's worked for Fresh & Easy for eight months.
"It was pretty upsetting. Like I said, I left my other job to be with the company -- rise to the top. But now [we're] closing down."
Liebel told Viel the company was working on a severance package or transfer.
Compton City Councilwoman Janna Zurita was shopping when she heard the news. She said a senior citizen center next door depends on the fresh food and produce.
"With the aging community and so much juvenile obesity in the community," she said, "you got to have somewhere to get fresh food."
Some of the closing SoCal locations have also announced closing sales of 50 and 75 percent in the coming days.
Sunday evening the video posted by CEO Keyes appeared to be removed from YouTube.
A spokesperson for the company released the following statement to CBS2 and KCAL9; much of it mirroring the comments made by CEO Keyes in his YouTube address.
"Fresh & Easy has spent much of the past year and a half since transitioning to new ownership transforming into a new business focused on delivering a new vision of modern convenience. This transformation was always going to be a challenge but the company has accomplished several major initiatives including a massive renovation project and re-launch in Las Vegas with an all-new fresh food concept. Just this month the company rolled out a new e-commerce Click & Collect service in Las Vegas, which will serve as a test for a wider rollout. Fresh & Easy has also put innovation at the forefront of the transformation of its food manufacturing business, building a successful third-party business model out of its Riverside commissary facilities.
The company is now in a better position to rationalize its store base and divest locations that do not meet the criteria of Fresh & Easy's model of modern convenience. This move allows the company to redeploy capital into development and growth, including a 3,000 to 5,000 square foot store to provide a higher level of convenience and greater density. Fresh & Easy is also working with ADMI, the innovative firm behind the design of the Apple Store, to design the Fresh & Easy store of the future – a concept that the company believes represents the future of convenience retail and puts Fresh & Easy into a category of one: the only fresh food convenience store."
On Sunday evening, a Fresh & Easy spokesperson provided a list of closures around the Southland
Foothill Blvd & Second Ave Arcadia
Alosta & Citrus Azusa
Valley View & La Palma Buena Park
Arneill Rd & Las Posas Rd Camarillo
Chino Hills Pkwy & Eucalyptus Ave Chino Hills
Central & Rosecrans Compton
Ontario & Rimpau Corona
Newport Blvd & Harbor Blvd Costa Mesa
Pacific Coast Hwy & 8th St Hermosa Beach
Limonite Ave & Clay St Jurupa Valley
Beach Blvd & Whittier Blvd La Habra
Imperial & Santa Gertrudes La Mirada
Woodruff & South Lakewood
Spring Street & Palo Verde Avenue Long Beach
Palos Verdes & Western Los Angeles
Central & Adams Los Angeles
Tampa Ave & Nordhoff St Los Angeles
Wendy Drive & Old Conejo Rd Newbury Park
Lindero Canyon Rd & Kanan Rd Oak Park
Euclid Ave & Philadelphia St Ontario
Rose Ave. & Gonzales Rd. Oxnard
California Blvd. & Lake Ave. Pasadena
Foothill Blvd & Vineyard Ave Rancho Cucamonga
Foothill Blvd & Day Creek Blvd Rancho Cucamonga
Arlington & Madison Riverside
Foothill Blvd & Pali Ave. Tujunga
8th Street & Mountain Avenue Upland
Telegraph Rd & Day Rd Ventura
Alameda St & Florence Ave Walnut Park
Goldenwest & McFadden Westminster
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