Tesco Part Two: The Wal-Mart Threat


They came, they saw, they paused. Tesco , the world's third largest retailer, finally invaded the world's largest retail market--the U.S.--last November (see related post), opening its first Fresh&Easy store in Los Angeles.

The plan: spend $2 billion over five years to win over Americans with a smaller store concept (like Trader Joe's) selling fresh, cheap, grab-and-go food. Great idea, yet the execution has reportedly not met internal expectations. Analysts cite a lack of brand awareness, lack of flair (Americans like flash), and supply chain problems. So in April the company paused to work things out.

Today it restarts its American dream with the opening of the 62nd Fresh&Easy in Manhattan Beach. The store is definitely brighter and warmer with more signage. There is also a greater selection. In perhaps the ultimate validation of Tesco's idea, Wal-Mart is experimenting with the same concept, planning four "Marketside" stores in Phoenix--see first video clip.

And the second clip is an interview with Tesco's U.S. Chief, Tim Mason, telling me what the Brits have learned about American shoppers.

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