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    Fresh & Easy to Launch Loyalty Program

    Tesco indicates plans to offer a version of its U.K. Clubcard shopper program in the U.S.

    EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Tesco indicated plans to launch a version of its successful U.K-based Clubcard shopper loyalty program for customers of its Fresh & Easy chain in the U.S., The Financial Times reported.

    This would shift the company's original strategy for the U.S., which was to operate a discount store, delivering the lowest price to shoppers. But in a recent advertisement for a new marketing position at Fresh & Easy's U.S. headquarters lists "2010 planning for loyalty program" amid the job responsibilities, according to the report.

    Tesco now has approximately 130 Fresh & Easy stores in the U.S. and is continuing to spread northwards in California from its base in Los Angeles, with six stores opening in Fresno in central California by February next year. However, plans for expansion into northern California and northern Nevada on are hold.

    Additionally, Tim Mason, head of Tesco's U.S. operation, played a leading role in the introduction of the Clubcard in the U.K. earlier this decade when he was the company's marketing director, the report stated.

    Tesco announced in October it expected its U.S. stores to record a loss of $259 million for the current fiscal year to March 30, and that the losses "reflect the fact that Fresh & Easy has been built with the necessary infrastructure in place to support hundreds of stores," according to The Financial Times.

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