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• In Arizona, the East Valley Tribune reports that Tesco’s Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Markets “could soon cover the Valley by opening locations about two miles apart, providing roughly one store for every 20,000 residents, the company said Wednesday.”

And, the company said that public response to the stores has been “fantastic,” and that it has become easier to find locations now that the chain’s profile has gotten higher.

• Published reports say that Tesco is planning to open its first stores in Russia, and is looking for potential store sites. Analysts say that Russia is a tough market to crack since the population is centered in big cities that are far apart, creating operational and infrastructure challenges.

No word on what the Russia stores will be called…though “Almost Fresh & Somewhat Easier” is not reported to be one of the options. has a story saying that a wine sold exclusively at Tesco’s Fresh & Easy stores in the US has been rated with 90 points by The Wine Advocate, considered a coup for the retailer and a real find for oenophiles.

The website notes that “the wine, Bodegas Palacio's Reflexion Rioja Reserva 2003, sells at $9.99 and is one of more than 60 wines in the private label range sold at Fresh & Easy.”

KC's View:
This may be a small thing, but it is significant because it illustrates at least one of the ways that Tesco plans to carve out a differential advantage in the markets it serves. After all, nobody had ever heard of “Two Buck Chuck” before Trader Joe’s made it a phenomenon…and look at how it didn’t just power sales at the one retailer that carried it, but virtually created an entirely new category in the wine business.