CHESHUNT, UK: Tesco, the dominant force in UK retailing, has unfurled the banner under which it will match into the USA - Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market - also its battle plan to establish a major bridgehead in the vicinity of Greater Phoenix, Arizona.

Tesco, admired and reviled in equal measure for its masterly identification and low-key acquisition of suitable store locations in the UK, has pursued the same strategy stateside with the purchase of twenty sites in and around Phoenix.

According to F&ENM ceo Tim Mason, the Greater Phoenix area was targeted for its high population growth and the strong potential of its expanding market. "We believe that the Greater Phoenix region is an excellent place to begin that [trans-American] journey."

On securing the bridgehead, the retailer will extend into the Las Vegas, Los Angeles and San Diego conurbations. A typical F&ENM outlet will run to approximately ten thousand square feet of floorspace - deliberately smaller than the average supermarket.

Tesco claimsthat the compact size will give consumers a "faster, easier shopping experience".

But seasoned Tesco-watchers in the UK take that rationale with a fistful of salt, believing it prefers not to take-on the big guys like Wal-Mart, Kmart and Ahold, instead preying on the markets of smaller local operators.

One pound sterling in every eight pounds spent across all UK retail outlets goes to Tesco - a situation deplored by consumer bodies and currently under review by British competition regulators.

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online. additional content by WARC staff