Tesco reveals plans and brand for new US stores
Many US supermarket operators have been keenly awaiting news of how global supermarket chain Tesco intends to tackle the US market; rumours abound; but now we have the facts.
Tesco says that its new chain of grocery stores in the US will be called Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market, and formally revealed its new logo during an event hosted by the Greater Phoenix Economic Council. Tesco veteran marketer Tim Mason (who joined the company in 1982) is CEO.
Regions of concentration The company is focusing on the Greater Phoenix area, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and San Diego and stores will begin to open later in the year. Tesco chose the Greater Phoenix area for its high population growth and the strong potential of its expanding market.
Twenty sites in the Greater Phoenix area have already been secured and additional locations are being researched. Each of the neighbourhood markets will be roughly 10,000 square feet in size - intentionally smaller than the usual supermarket in order to give customers a faster, easier shopping experience.
"Our company has enjoyed strong success in countries throughout Europe and Asia, and we are excited to bring that success to America," says Mason. "We believe that the Greater Phoenix region is an excellent place to begin that journey."
Customer research The Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market format is a result of extensive customer research in local U.S. markets combined with the learning from Tesco's highly innovative Express format which it operates in more than 1,000 stores in seven countries, serving approximately 10 million customers every week.
"The Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market format is designed to draw customers back to their local neighbourhoods by offering high quality, fresh and nutritious food at affordable prices," said Mason.Good neighbour "We are passionate about being a good neighbour and a good employer," added Mason. "We will recruit locally and play an active role in the neighbourhoods where our stores are located."
The new company already employs 150 people at its headquarters in El Segundo, California and expects to create more than 2,500 new jobs once stores begin opening later in 2007.
Playing the green card The company says it is also dedicated to environmentally-friendly business practices, having recently announced the installation of a solar panel roofing system at its distribution centre that is currently under construction in Riverside, California. At 500,000 square feet, Tesco says the US$13 million project is the largest roof-mounted solar installation in California.
At the store level, waste will be minimized by recycling or reusing all shipping materials and energy consumption will be reduced by using modified fridges and lighting.
But what of the Clubcard programme? The question on every retailers and customer loyalty marketer's lips is: "Will Tesco launch Clubcard in the US?".
Clearly, no one at Tesco will be drawn on the subject, but Tim Mason has been reported as saying that he thinks that Clubcard will follow Tesco around the world, but that it's really a question of timing.