NEW YORK — Tesco’s decision to invest in its small-format Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market stores in the Western U.S. was based on its perception that convenience “is a relatively underinvested segment of retailing” in the U.S., said Sir Terry Leahy, chief executive for U.K.-based Tesco, in a presentation at the National Retail Federation’s 99th Annual Convention & Expo here this week.
“Convenience is the fastest-growing sector of retailing around the world. One exception, interestingly, is the U.S.,” said Leahy. “We felt there was an opportunity in the U.S. [in] this broad area of convenience, so we invested in Fresh & Easy. We believe—hope—this will be a sector that will grow into the future.”
Fresh & Easy now operates about 135 stores in Southern and Central California, Phoenix and Las Vegas, having opened three new stores in the Fresno, Calif., area yesterday, but the company had hoped to have 150 stores opened by the end of its fiscal year last February — which was down from its original goal of 200.
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