U.K.-based Tesco Plc has closed three San Diego County locations of its Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market, after selling the small-format grocery chain to The Yucaipa Cos. LLC of Los Angeles.

The shuttered stores are at 9751 Mission Gorge Road in Santee; 350 N. Second St. in El Cajon; and 425 N. Ash St. in Escondido. The grocer maintains 14 locations in San Diego County.

Tesco closed approximately 50 Fresh & Easy locations in California, Nevada and Arizona, after it agreed to sell the remaining 150 to Yucaipa Cos., led by managing partner Ron Burkle.

Tesco, the world’s third largest retailer, said it would assume up to $240 million in costs to close the stores and transfer 4,000 workers to Yucaipa Cos. That includes an approximately $128 million loan that it is making to Yucaipa Cos. to finance the purchase, secured against Fresh & Easy’s kitchen and distribution facility campus in Riverside.

Fresh & Easy, based in El Segundo, was started by Tesco in 2007 and was the retailer’s only presence in the United States.

— SDBJ Staff Report