LONDON — A Tesco executive here said the British retailer is prepared to pull out of the U.S. fairly quickly if its Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market stores prove unsuccessful, according to a report in The Business magazine here. "If it is a failure with consumers, you have got to be prepared to pull the plug, and we would move fast, but you don't go in with that view," Andrew Higginson, strategy and finance director, was quoted as saying. "This is a launch, not a trial. The way we see this is, it is an investment — if we create a success it will be something we can roll out that will create billions of pounds in value." Higginson was quoted as saying Tesco would be able to sustain a loss of 1.5 billion pounds ($3 billion); however, a Tesco spokesman here denied unattributed comments in the article that said Tesco had set $3 billion as it the amount it was prepared to sacrifice before declaring the U.S. venture a failure. "There is no cap," a chain spokesman said. Officials of Tesco USA, El Segundo, Calif., could not be reached for comment. The company expects to begin opening its Fresh & Easy stores in the fall in Los Angeles, Phoenix and Las Vegas.
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