Tesco's coming to town

Tesco shopping cart

TEXT OF STORY

MARK AUSTIN THOMAS: The world's fifth-largest retailer is stepping onto the world stage. British company Tesco has just opened for business in Beijing with plans to open 10 more stores per year in China. And later this year the company plans to launch a store in Southern California. It will be Tesco's first entry into the U.S. market. The American stores will be called Fresh and Easy. Marketplace's Jeff Tyler has more.


JEFF TYLER: It may be the biggest retailer in Britain, but Tesco doesn't get much name recognition in this country.

Nonetheless, the company rivals Wal-Mart in terms of global ambition. And as Morningstar equity analyst Mitch Corwin notes . . .

MITCH CORWIN: You can't be a global player without being in this country.

Tesco's first foray into U.S. business, he says, is a different approach from Wal-Mart's.

CORWIN: They're looking to build smaller stores. You know, they're not building the big super-centers. They're building more of like the size of a Trader Joe's.

Despite tough competition, Tesco's American brand Fresh and Easy hopes to distinguish itself by merging grocery-store services with the speed of a convenience store.

The move has the endorsement of investment icon Warren Buffett. In the last year, his company, Berkshire Hathaway, has gobbled up almost $1.5 billion in Tesco stock.

I'm Jeff Tyler for Marketplace.

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