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    Tesco Opens U.S. Headquarters

    After many months of anticipation and press hype, 150 Tesco employees gear up for expansion.

    EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Tesco opened its U.S. headquarters here yesterday, in preparation to open stores across California, Arizona and Nevada. Currently, 150 employees are working for the company in the U.S., but it expects as many as 2,500 employees when stores open, according to the Los Angeles Times.

    "Our company has enjoyed strong success in countries throughout Europe and Asia, and we are excited to now bring that success to America," Tesco USA CEO Tim Mason said at the opening.

    The company is scoping out 300 small grocery store sites in Southern California, Las Vegas and Phoenix, where it will spend up to $2 billion over the next five years on the launch, according to reports by the Los Angeles Times. Mason noted that while 300 sites are under negotiations, "not all will get opened."

    The first five units are about 15,000 square feet, with two thirds of that devoted to the sales floor. These are expected to open in the second quarter of 2007, with development of others quickening as Tesco gets its distribution network operational. "If this is successful, this is a very big country," Mason said.

    Tesco will focus on its fresh food through an efficient distribution system, which it brought from the U.K. to America for this purpose. "One of the problems of distribution in a place as vast as America is that most of the freshness is used up in trucks rather than in people's refrigerators," Mason said.

    The "smaller, simpler grocery stores," as described by Mason, will allow shoppers to get everything they need in one place. He added that urban neighborhoods needing to be "re-energized" could see a Tesco in the future.

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