Updated at 5:30 p.m., Dec. 5 with statement from Fresh & Easy.
The British are leaving, the British are leaving!
Fresh & Easy stores in California and beyond could soon be sold or closed, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.
Owned by Britain's Tesco, the 199-market grocery chain never quite caught on with American consumers.
Analysts said the recession was partly to blame—Fresh & Easy debuted in California, Nevada and Arizona in 2007, just as the economy began to tank. But, ultimately, shoppers didn't warm to the concept.
"Though it attracted a small group of loyalists, Fresh & Easy largely failed to capture the imagination of American consumers who proved unaccustomed to British-style ready meals, self-service cash registers and unfamiliar store layouts," the Journal said.
Tesco's CEO told the paper: "It's likely, but not certain, that our presence in America will come to an end."
A statement from Fresh & Easy sent to Mountain View Patch said that their "focus remains on our people and our customers. It is business as usual in our stores and we look forward to bringing our neighbors the same delicious, wholesome and affordable food they have come to expect from Fresh & Easy."
Offers to buy all or part of the chain are already trickling in, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times.
In the San Francisco Bay Area, Fresh & Easy's locations include Mountain View, three each in San Jose and San Francisco.