The supermarket giant Tesco is plotting to open a new store every two-and-a-half days in America. Britain’s biggest retailer has pledged to have 50 stores open by the end of next February after making its American debut in four cities – Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Phoenix and San Diego – in November.
The company has 100 sites in the pipeline, including 30 in Phoenix and 14 in Las Vegas, in its £250m-a-year project, which is expected to break even by the end of the second full year. Tim Mason, the Tesco executive leading the expansion plans for Fresh & Easy, its new neighbourhood store chain, said that he hoped to mimic the successful expansion of pharmacy chains such as Walgreens.
The stores will focus on selling fresh food. Tesco plans to improve quality by introducing date coding to fruit and vegetables. Its own-label products will have no artificial colours, flavourings or trans-fats, the fatty acids that increase the risk of heart disease.
Analysts have high hopes for Tesco in America. They believe it could eventually have as many stores there as the 1,900 in the UK. The retailer, which generates £7.6 billion in annual sales through operations in 12 countries, is to give a first-quarter trading update on June 19. Panmure Gordon forecasts like-for-like sales growth of about 6%.