Fresh&Easy store

Tesco has offloaded its Fresh & Easy chain

Tesco has completed the sale of its loss-making US arm Fresh & Easy to Ron Burkle-led investment firm Yucaipa.

Under the deal, 150 Fresh & Easy stores and 4,000 employees have transferred to Yucaipa, along with the chain’s Riverside distribution and production facilities.

Tesco extended an £80m loan to Yucaipa, secured against the Riverside facility, to finance the deal.

The company said in a statement today: “Following the announcement of 10 September 2013 that Tesco had agreed the sale of the substantive part of Fresh & Easy’s operating business to YFE Holdings Inc, an affiliate of Yucaipa Companies LLC, Tesco is today confirming the completion of the transaction.”

Speaking when the deal was announced in September, Tesco boss Philip Clarke said the sale represented the “best outcome” for Tesco shareholders: “It offers us an orderly and efficient exit from the US market, while protecting the jobs of more than 4,000 colleagues at Fresh & Easy.”

Tesco revealed its intention to quit the US in April, as part of a series of moves to retrench and reorganise its international operations. In October, it announced plans to roll its 134 Chinese stores into a joint venture with local giant China Resource Enterprise (CRE).