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The Financial Times reports that Tesco has cut about 50 jobs from the Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market headquarters in Southern California, as it continues to scale back new store openings to stanch the flow of red ink from its US division.

In a statement, Tesco said: "In April we said we are taking a more cautious approach to expanding Fresh & Easy, focusing on getting existing stores to profitability. Our central cost base should reflect that more cautious approach. With great regret, this means that we have to make redundancies at Fresh & Easy headquarters in California. This is not with a view to a sale or closure of the business. We remain committed to reach profitability and these changes are about helping to achieve that."

It is projected that Fresh & Easy will reach profitability by february 2014, a year later than its most recent projection.
KC's View:
Somehow, that whole "this is not with a view to a sale or closure of the business" line doesn't ring out with the same degree of credibility and certainty that it used to.

I have to believe that if Walmart - or any other company, for that matter - walked up to Tesco CEO Philip Clarke with a checkbook and a willingness to deal, he'd be ready to listen.