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• The Los Angeles Times reports that labor activists and community groups are questioning Tesco’s commitment to so-called “food deserts” – underserved neighborhoods that have endured without access to traditional, mainstream, and low-cost food retailing.

While Tesco has pledged to serve such neighborhoods with its new Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market format, the first stores opened in Southern California have not been in such neighborhoods, and local groups are perturbed.

Tesco says that there are some funding issues still unresolved, but that it is still committed to putting a story into South Los Angeles and has a specific location under development.

But activists aren’t convinced. According to the Times, “Researchers from Occidental College's Urban and Environmental Policy Institute used liquor license applications to analyze 121 prospective locations for Fresh & Easy markets and found that less than 10% were in census tracts with significantly high poverty rates. Most were near existing supermarkets.”

KC's View:
Tesco’s positive image in California could take a hit if the delays go one too long. The company has to be very careful about this – the political realities are that promises must be kept, and delays are not seen in a positive light.