UK supermarket operator Tesco confirmed that it will enter the US market under the 'Fresh & Easy Neighbourhood Market' banner when it revealed its new logo at an event hosted by the Greater Phoenix Economic Council yesterday (7 February).

The company is initially focusing on the Greater Phoenix, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and San Diego areas, with its first stores due to open in Phoenix later this year. Tesco said that it will launch in Greater Phoenix, where it has already secured 20 locations and is continuing to research more sites.

Tesco has targeted the Greater Phoenix area because of its rapid population growth and the potential offered by the expanding market.

While Tesco is not releasing details of the number of outlets it will be opening, a spokesperson for the retailer told just-food that it intends to swiftly penetrate the market. "We can't reveal the number of stores we initially plan to open, but we need to rapidly expand over there," the company said. 

The neighbourhood markets will be roughly 10,000 square feet in size, smaller than a regular supermarket. The stores will emphasise convenience, offering fresh quality goods at affordable prices, Fresh & Easy CEO Tim Mason said. "The Fresh & Easy Neighbourhood Market format is designed to draw customers back to their local neighbourhoods by offering high quality, fresh and nutritious food at affordable prices," he commented.

The concept was developed following extensive consumer research in the US and has taken lessons from the Tesco Express format, which operates in seven different national markets.

The company, which already employs 150 people at its HQ in El Segundo, California, said it expects to create more than 2,500 jobs in the area. "We are passionate about being a good neighbour and a good employer," said Mason. "We will recruit locally and play an active role in the neighbourhoods where our stores are located."

Tesco said it is committed to adopting environmentally friendly practices in its stores, where it will minimise waste by recycling or reusing all shipping materials and energy consumption will be reduced with modified fridges and lighting.

The UK's largest retailer has been hesitant to provide further details of the launch, suggesting that it wants American consumers to be the first to know its plans. "We aren't disclosing an exact launch date, but it will be in the second half of the year," a spokesperson for the company told just-food today.