It’s been a tough run for British-based Tesco PLC and their Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market . Since the grocery store chain came to the states, it’s reportedly been a losing venture, with some just hoping the company will break even in 2013. Potentially adding to their woes is a recent piece of California state legislation putting a ban on buying alcohol at self-serve checkouts, possibly causing problems for two stores expected to open in San Francisco.
Two Fresh & Easy Markets are expected to open in San Francisco in coming months, one at 32nd and Clement, the other in the Bayview. Opening dates for either haven’t been announced. According to the Chron, Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Markets are entirely composed of the same self-serve checkout stands Ma’s bill seeks to ban for booze.
Says Ma, “We appreciate Fresh & Easy coming to San Francisco, but when it comes to buying alcohol, or beverages with alcohol in them, they’ll have to have a retail clerk involved, just the same as at Lucky, Safeway, Target or Walgreens.”
A Fresh & Easy spokesperson tells the Chron that the stores have plenty of fail safes already in place to block booze sales to kids, even as at least one analyst is saying that the costs associated with upping staffing in California stores “could mean the ‘beginning of the end’” for the grocery chain.
The proposed bill, AB183, has backing from law enforcement agencies like the SFPD, UFCW Local 324 (which, we should note, has been protesting Fresh & Easy’s non-union hiring policies), and Mothers Against Drunk Driving. The bill comes before the Assembly Appropriations Committee today.