tesco unveils expansion plans

Chain reveals three new store locations added, as well as an estimated opening date.

Tesco has unveiled plans to open in the U.S. as early as November, adding three more Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Markets to its list of stores.

The chain plans to have up to 50 stores launched by February 2008 in California, Nevada and Arizona, according to chief executive Tim Mason in a recent interview with the Orange County (Calif.) Register. Mason refused to say which city would claim bragging rights to the inaugural store, but he did share the state.

“The first opening will be in Southern California,” Mason told the paper.

Originally, Tesco said it planned to open six neighborhood supermarkets in the California towns of Huntington Beach, Orange, Fullerton, Laguna Hills, Anaheim and Buena Park. The retail giant has recently added Fountain Valley, La Habra and a second Orange store to a growing list of more than 100 supermarkets planned for the U.S.

“Tesco is going to go across the board and everyone is holding their breath to see if its going to be an upscale 7-11, or a true small market that has neat things that people like to have,” Phil Voorhees, an investment retail specialist for CB Richard Ellis in Newport Beach, told the newspaper. Voorhees added that Tesco is building momentum to “hit the ground running” when it enters the region later this year.

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