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    Fresh & Easy Inks Deal for First Smaller-format Store

    Express concept will debut in San Pedro, Calif.

    Seven months after plans were revealed for smaller format stores, Tesco-owned Fresh & Easy is one step closer to opening its first Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market Express.

    The new format, which will be between 4,000 and 5,000 square feet, is roughly half the size of a traditional Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market which has about 10,000 square feet of selling space, according to the blog freshandeasybuzz.

    And, as reported by the DailyBreeze.com, the El Segundo, Calif.-based company has now signed a lease for space at the southwest corner of Sixth and Gaffey streets in San Pedro, Calif. A hearing for the store's beer and wine licenses is scheduled for Sept. 21, and plans call for the Express to open by Thanksgiving -- Jan. 1 the latest.

    Fresh & Easy has experienced a growth spurt this year. In November 2010, the company said it was on target to open 10 new stores in Southern California in early 2011. In addition, the company has set its sights on northern California, with two stores bowing in San Francisco. One opened in late June, and the other is slated to open at the end of August, as PG sister website CSNews Online previously reported.

    The company's drive is getting notice. Fresh & Easy recently landed at the No. 3 spot on the STORES Hot 100 Retailers list. The annual list highlights retail companies that reported the greatest increase in domestic sales between 2009 and 2010.
     

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