I think Yucaipa is planning to merge f&e and A&p and sell as a whole
Look at what Sprouts has done with the foramt they use. The Wild Oats format will definitly take some share immediatly as well as position themselves in a growing segment.
I think the fundamental flaw in the F&E format is that it's the answer to a question American consumers weren't really asking.
The locations and footprints could work really well for a reincarnation of Wild Oats, with a focus on healthful/natural prepared foods and a limited selection of premium grocery.
Jim Keyes? & 7/11 not the best stores
I'm a team leader with f&e. And yes change everything! The self check outs are a disaster. We're constantly having too fix problems that go on with the registers. Their is never smiles on us, the employees faces or any good interactions with the customers due to the problems. We're always under pressure to due are daily tasks. Its a big joke to find money with are stock to make up for are DC MISTAKES!!!!!! We always have to make sure the stores look grand opening status. But then again we never have enough ppl on staff for morning and closing duties. There is no incentives to get great raises. So the workers never want to work hard for there pay. Believe me, I used to wrk at trader Joe's. I worked hard everyday for my money. I wasn't a mgr and got paid $17 an hr. I'm a mgr now and only get paid $13 an hr. The stress factor is huge throughout all the stores. Its hypocritical to call it fresh and EASY for the customers. But when it comes down to us employees, its not EASY! And
when we organize are shelves, us Americans call it facing, not rumbling for pete sakes. CHEERIO fresh and easy concept. Thank goodness!
Here in the northeast, who are the most successful? Market Basket (price); Wegmans (marketing/service); Aldi (price) & Trader Joe (value & quality reputation).
So, Fresh & Easy needs to develop a reputation based upon one of these qualities. Seems as if they never established a successful strategy, but rather sent mixed messages (A la Sears & J C Penny). I agree with many of the A & P references, lack of investment combined with a lack of price leadership, which actually started before Tenglemann, and which they never fixed. Yucaipa has two chains that need focus (well, actually multiple chains here in the east), and here in the east they need investment to boot.
Also, yes a name change is in order, but only after they have devised a focused strategy to support the moniker.
Unless the exit strategy is all about real estate which gets marketed to successful retailers. Let us not forget how Vornado came about.
As a previous employee, who helped open the first F&E stores, please go back to the original concept. Only carry 3400 SKU's, the most popular flavore of the most popular brand. The kitchen in Riverside needs to keep running and making the fresh foods, but not as many ready to eat foods. Keep the format simple so the prices stay low. The coupon's should be a special event not every day use. Go to an American theem celebrate the American Holidays as we do here in America. Keep enough staff on hand to clean properly, the refergerated cases need weekly cleaning and that takes elbow greese to complete. As for the self-checkouts, keep 3 or 4 and put staffed checkouts in as well. Lastly...... Advertise the heck out of the stores. Tell the story make sure customers understand what you are accomplishing, from fresh healthy food to a Europen shop daily concept , shout it out.
Good luck I will continue to shop weekly if not 2 times a week.
Well said. It's a great company. With the correct leadership it will work
It's a lot more complicated than that.
Amongst the deep issues with F&E is their couponing and daily specials, both huge loss makers.
$8,000. to over $20,000. per week per store in waste is a dead end.
Then you have the coupons where most are 20% off of purchase and the "made for me" coupons that you can use over and over again.
Really? Not even Ron Burkle can tweak that into profits. Those tiny stores would have to each do $750,000. per week to make a profit.
Crunch the numbers. An excellent supermarket operator (with a large enough footprint) that has everything lined up to make money garners net, net 2.5% on the dollar, and THAT is admirable.
Smaller stores can excel if their niche is very well defined, developed and nurtured (Trader Joes, Sprouts, etc.). These are niche operators not "generalists" like Ralphs, Vons, etc.
Keeping the F&E name, reducing or getting rid of the extensive coupon program and "somehow" solving the problem of expiring code dates, thus drastically reducing the anathema of all that waste (via daily specials) will not work.
You can't take away something from the customer (and keep the F&E name) that they have been "trained" to expect. Tesco tried to reduce the coupon issue and the results was double digit declines in sales.
New name, new or drastically revised concept is what is needed and heavy advertising.
I wonder what Burkle will do with F&E's warehouse styled shelves (talk about Tesco's poor management of interior store space)?
So much to correct, I wonder if Burkle can do it this time.
The ONLY reason F&E has any customers is the coupons. Eliminate them and you can lock the doors. Surly staff, aisles jammed with delivery carts, lousy produce, disastrous checkout, unwanted packaged meals, zero service, no delis/fresh fish and meat counters = Not Fresh and Certainly not Easy.
Just look at what Yucaipa is doing to A&P. Yucaipa, unethically, just continues to milk the real estate portfolio and methodically manipulate the employees into believing that a saint is going to save them.
What they are doing to A & P is very comparable to what Tenglemann did i.e. rather than invest and fix it, they are taking it apart store by store. And the poster is correct when stated that once again, A & P employees are being misled, disappointed and can't plan their and their families futures. A & P needs some work as the Tenglemann family destroyed A & P and drove customers away with their pricing, lack of follow-thru on store remodels or openings and pulling out of markets where sales weren't so much the problem but rather the store conditions were and Tenglemann wouldn't invest to build and maintain market share. The Germans ruined an American icon and it was hoped Yucaipa would save it. Doesn't apppear to be the case though.
Because of their demographics, 25 - 50 stores should be converted to Wild Oats. All self checkouts eliminated and the front end totally redesigned.
The remaining 100 stores are highly questionable. PRICE is not the only factor. These store have to be totally re-imagined to match the neighborhood they are in.
The heavy coupon-ing and markdowns have got to be discontinued, and to do that, you have to get rid of the name "Fresh & Easy". Here again, the front end has to be redesigned with a combo of manned checkouts and "a few" self checkouts.
PRICE!!! More now than ever, most shoppers have price on their mind; then comes quality. If Yucaipa is REALLY interested in operating the 150 F&Es for the long haul, successfully, it MUST be PRICE competitive from the getgo!!!
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