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    Tesco Pegs Phoenix for Launch of 'Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market'

    PHOENIX - Arizona's biggest metropolitan area is where Tesco's much-anticipated hybrid format will first touch U.S. soil, the U.K. retailer revealed yesterday during an event hosted here by the Greater Phoenix Economic Council. The retailer also unveiled the new banner and logo that it intends to paper several West Coast markets with.

    PHOENIX - Arizona's biggest metropolitan area is where Tesco's much-anticipated hybrid format will first touch U.S. soil, the U.K. retailer revealed yesterday during an event hosted here by the Greater Phoenix Economic Council. The retailer also unveiled the new banner and logo that it intends to paper several West Coast markets with.

    Tim Mason c.e.o. of the chain's U.S. operation, which will be called Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market, said Tesco fully intends to replicate in America the success it has had in other parts of the world. "We believe that the Greater Phoenix region is an excellent place to begin that journey," he said.

    Tesco said it has already secured 20 sites in the Greater Phoenix area, and it is ferreting out additional locations. Each of the neighborhood 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. The company said it chose Phoenix as its inaugural market because of its high rate of population growth.

    "The Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market format is designed to draw customers back to their local neighborhoods by offering high quality, fresh, and nutritious food at affordable prices," said Mason of the concept. Tesco tailored the format according to findings from extensive customer research in local U.S. markets, combined with learnings from the more than 1,000 existing Express stores it operates in seven countries, serving approximately 10 million customers every week.

    "We are passionate about being a good neighbor and a good employer," added Mason. "We will recruit locally and play an active role in the neighborhoods where our stores are located."

    The new retailer already employs 150 people at its headquarters in El Segundo, Calif. and expects to create more than 2,500 new jobs once stores begin opening.

    Tesco said it will incorporate environmentally-friendly business practices in the U.S. operation. It recently announced the installation of a solar panel roofing system at a distribution center currently under construction in Riverside, Calif. At the store level, it said it will minimize waste by recycling or reusing all shipping materials, and reduce energy consumption with modified fridges and lighting.

    Those steps are part of the company's initiative to set an example worldwide by spending #500 million, or U.S. $987 million, to cut prices on energy-efficient products and reduce pollution, the report stated. The plans calls for halving the price of energy-efficient light bulbs at its stores, increasing the amount of biofuels at its gas stations, diminishing its dependence on air freight to less than 1 percent of products and installing additional wind turbines on the top of stores' roofs, according to the Daily Telegraph.

    The company said it also plans to label each product it sells with a "carbon footprint" -- the amount of carbon dioxide generated during the item's production and distribution -- to help consumers choose environmentally friendly products.

    Even the chain's new logo is getting in on the green movement: it features shades of green and an apple combined with a clock. The clock face emphasizes convenience, while a green apple stem reinforces its focus on fresh meals and produce to time-pressed consumers. The time indicated on the clock -- 4:05 -- is a nod to consumers on their way home from work, looking for items to complete that night's meal. The logo's trademark documents were recently filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

    The green color scheme is a divergence from the red, white and blue colors associated with the Tesco brand overseas, which was created in 1924 as a combination of founder Jack Cohen and TE Stockwell, his tea supplier, according to the Financial Times.

    Tesco operates more than 2,800 stores across 12 countries, and employs more than 370,000 associates.

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