NEW YORK — Tesco could have 1,000 stores in the U.S. within five years, with sales of $7 billion to $10 billion, James Anstead, a London-based analyst for Citi Investment Research here, said yesterday during an Internet conference call. "And if the convenience store format is successful, not only would I expect Tesco to move further up the West Coast but also to move further inland to other U.S. regions," he said. By 2015, Tesco's U.S. stores — the first of which are expected to open next week — could account for 5% to 10% of Tesco's total, he added, "though not a big chunk of overall sales for quite some time, even if it is very successful." Tesco's sales for the fiscal year ending in late February are expected to come close to $98 billion. According to Anstead, in a worst-case scenario, Tesco could see early losses of $1 million to $1.6 million, "which would be 1% to 1.5% of its market capital but not a disaster." In other comments during the call, Deborah Weinswig, Citi's food analyst here, said Tesco's entry might give other U.S. food retailers "a significant opportunity to improve the quality and quantity of home-meal replacement, and Tesco could speed that progress."
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