CHESHUNT, ENGLAND — U.K.-based Tesco is conducting a strategic review of its U.S. Fresh & Easy chain as the stores are not delivering acceptable shareholder return in a reasonable timeframe.

“In recent months we have had a number of approaches from parties interested in acquiring either all or part of Fresh & Easy or in partnering with us to develop the Fresh & Easy business,” the company said. “We will communicate progress on this process when we present our full-year results for the current financial year in April 2013.”

The company announced in October new capital investment in Fresh & Easy was to be limited while the business focused on reducing costs and improving profitability of existing stores.

“I have been clear since my appointment as chief executive officer was announced that my role is to deliver long-term value for shareholders,” said Philip Clarke, chief executive. “Following a year in which my priority for Fresh & Easy was to improve its performance, I have now made a fully informed assessment of its longer-term potential.

“Whilst the business has many positive, its journey to scale and acceptable returns will take too long relative to other opportunities. I have therefore decided to conduct a strategic review of Fresh & Easy with all options under consideration.”