business news in context, analysis with attitude

• Tesco’s Fresh & Easy division in the US reportedly has opened three new stores in the Las Vegas market, with three more slated to open in the area next month – which will bring the Fresh & Easy presence in Las Vegas to 25.

"We're proud to have opened in so many different types of neighborhoods throughout Las Vegas," said Fresh & Easy CEO Tim Mason in a prepared statement. "With every store we open, we create more local, competitive jobs and bring quality food at great prices to the neighborhood."

Fresh & Easy now has a total of 93 stores open in California, Arizona and Nevada.

KC's View:
All this despite the skepticism on the part of a lot of people about whether the Fresh & Easy stores are delivering the kinds of returns that Tesco anticipated…

I was talking to a well-placed industry observer the other day (who has no dog in this hunt, as far as I know), and he told me that many of the Fresh & Easy units are doing just fine…not runaway successes, necessarily, but solid performers that have brought something different to the areas in which they operate. This analyst suggested that Tesco’s central thesis is to pursue behavior-based demographics, not age or income or ethnicity based demographics…and that this is allowing Tesco to create higher loyalty levels than some might think.

It also was suggested to me that Tesco is taking advantage of real estate availabilities and a cheap dollar as it opens so many stores – and that the long term play is simply to get as many of these things operating as possible, and tweak them later.