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    Tesco Goes Online in U.S.

    Company launches www.freshandeasy.com to educate consumers.

    EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Tesco's Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market now has a Web site dedicated to providing consumers with company news and information about its stores, culture and philosophy, reported Progressive Grocer, sister company to Convenience Store News.

    The site -- www.freshandeasy.com -- offers a background on the company, insight into its strategy and philosophy, and hints at what shoppers can expect from its stores. The company's purpose: "We're here to create value for our customers and earn their lifetime loyalty," the Web site states.

    "It seems obvious. People want fresh, healthy food. People want things to be easy. So we're making our stores that way. How? By filling them with friendly people and high-quality food at affordable prices," the home page states. "Because we're a good neighbor who cares about the environment, we're including energy-efficient equipment in every store. And since we'll be right in the neighborhood, we'll help reduce our customers' travel time and boost local trade."

    Along with a newsroom with current and past press information about the company, information on the site includes sections showcasing:

    - The Fresh & Easy shopping experience and information on the Fresh & Easy line of products;
    - The company's commitment to minimize its impact on the environment;
    - The company's commitment to being a good neighbor;
    - What it means to be a part of the Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market team and details on the application process; and
    - A "Your Thoughts" area, where consumers can provide feedback about the company or its stores.

    "As we prepare to open stores in neighborhoods throughout the West, we [want] to provide consumers with a tool to learn more about Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market and the opportunities that will be coming into their communities later this year," said Fresh & Easy CEO Tim Mason.

    "Lots of fresh and delicious food choices, including preprepared and organic foods, will make healthy eating convenient and affordable," the site states. "In particular, our own Fresh & Easy line of products will have no added trans fat and no artificial colors or flavors. The simple packaging and labels on our private brand will help you see exactly what you're bringing home -- great food you can trust."

    As planned stores open in Los Angeles, San Diego, Phoenix and Las Vegas, specific store locations and details will also be available on the site, the report stated.

    Tesco CEO Terry Leahy said earlier this week that he is "increasingly encouraged" by the prospects for success in the U.S. with the new format. Leahy told Reuters the company's startup costs for the U.S. operation were around 65 million pounds ($129 million). He also said he anticipates the U.S. business to be profitable in its third year.

    The chain also reported a record 2.55 billion pounds ($5.1 billion) in annual profit, and doubled the amount of its cash dividend to shareholders, Progressive Grocer reported.

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