Tesco in the Windy City Next?

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Tesco in the Windy City Next?

CHICAGO -- British retailer Tesco, which is opening its small-store grocery formats on the West Coast of the U.S., is looking for more locations for its Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Markets chain in the Chicago area, according to a report in the Chicago Sun-Times.

One potential site is Arlington Heights, Ill., a suburb less than 30 miles northwest of Chicago, the paper reported, citing knowledgeable sources.

However, a Tesco spokesman told the Sun-Times that the retailer is focusing its searches in California, Arizona and Nevada, and declined to comment about expansion plans, the report stated.
In addition, Jon Hauptman, a partner with retail consultancy firm Willard Bishop, told the paper he has heard no reports of Tesco scouting sites in Chicago, but added it would be reasonable to assume the retailer would look to expand.

The Chicago area grocery market is competitive, and has seen entries and expansions by Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, Aldi, Costco, Food 4 Less, Roundy's, Target and Wal-Mart, the report stated, noting a Fresh & Easy would be unique in the market due to its prepared foods, packaged perishables and selection of produce, meat and bakery, the Sun-Times reported.

Meanwhile, an equity analyst at Chicago-based Morningstar, Mitchell Corwin, told the paper Chicago's major grocery chains, including Jewel-Osco and Dominick's, would have little concern over a Tesco entry in the short term, but added the international retailer could have "a dramatic impact" on the local scene over a period of time.