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    Residents, Local Businesses Eager for Tesco

    Additional details emerge on the company's U.S. entry.

    PHOENIX -- Tesco's chain of neighborhood markets slated to open later this year on the West Coast has residents and local companies anticipating the entrance in the market, but for more reasons than just another place to shop, reported The Arizona Republic.

    As the Tesco plan becomes clearer, businesspeople and job seekers in the areas where stores will open are looking to get involved with what could become a major player in the country’s grocery industry.

    Manufacturing businesses want to sell refrigerator and freezer cases to Tesco, while packaged food companies want their products on the Fresh & Easy brand's shelves and local advertising firms want to handle its marketing and advertising programs, the report stated.

    Joe Hutchinson, a Phoenix-based food broker who sells frozen and perishable items to supermarkets, told the paper it's not often that a big client comes to the area.

    "We haven't had one (open) in a long time," he said. "This could be an opportunity for us."

    Hutchinson and many others are trying to forge a deal with Tesco. However, they are having trouble contacting the company, headquartered in El Segundo, Calif. Tesco's phone number there is (310) 341-1200, the report stated.

    There is also a Web site, www.freshandeasy.com, which links to site where residents can apply for jobs at the company by submitting resumes. Tesco plans to hire 400 people initially to work at its stores in the Arizona market. Open positions include: construction, supply chain/distribution, finance, human resources, operations, property, purchasing/procurement and stores/retail, the report stated, citing the company's Web site.

    While the company comes from the United Kingdom, its food options will not. Tesco announced last week that its lineup will not include British food. Fresh & Easy food options will "reflect 21st century American life," said Tesco USA CEO Tim Mason.

    Some Phoenix residents were disappointed when they heard the news, having lived in Britain or discovering Tesco when traveling there.

    "Well, that's a pity. I think that there is a small market for it here," Chris Cox, Phoenix resident, told the paper. Cox is interested in shopping and working at Fresh & Easy. "Basically I would view it as just another store if they didn't sell British products."

    In a note entitled "It May Be Fresh, But It Won't Be Easy," Credit Suisse analyst Edward Kelly said that Tesco's plans to open U.S. stores "could represent one of the major structural changes to face the retail industry in some time."

    Kelly estimated that Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market stores could generate $1 billion in sales within three years and grab 2 to 6 percent of the local market share in five years, reported Reuters.

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