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Losses Down, Sales Up at Fresh & Easy

CHESHUNT, England — Tesco here said Wednesday that Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market is on track to meet its guidance of "sharply reduced losses" this fiscal year "on our way to breaking even" toward the end of 2012-2013.

The company also said the test of its "friends" loyalty card at seven stores in Bakersfield, Calif., has met with such success that a full rollout of the program is scheduled for this week.

SN has learned that Fresh & Easy plans to open its first Express store in Los Angeles on Nov. 2 — a 3,000-square-foot format in a densely populated area of the city at La Cienega Boulevard and 18th Street.

For the six-month period that ended Aug. 27, Tesco said the net loss for its 177 Fresh & Easy stores was $113 million (U.S.), compared with a loss of $151 million at 159 stores a year ago.

Sales for the half-year rose 19.8% to $470.5 million — an increase of 23.1% at actual exchange rates, according to Tesco's calculations, or 32% at constant rates.