Tesco's CEO Talks About the Future of U.S. Operations

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Tesco's CEO Talks About the Future of U.S. Operations

LOS ANGELES -- In his first interview since launching Tesco's U.S. operations, Tim Mason, chief executive of the division, signaled that Tesco is hatching plans for expansion beyond the West Coast.

Mason dampened industry murmurs that Fresh & Easy was not performing to expectations, saying instead the retail chain was thriving. He also announced that Jeff Adams was appointed operations director, a move he said will prepare the company for future success.

"We have always known we will need more executive vice-presidents in operations because this country is so big that as soon as we go into a new geography, we will need someone to run it, so we have brought him in a little early," Mason told the Financial Times, adding that rumors he was returning to the U.K. were a "complete fabrication."

Over the next four years, the UK-based Tesco will invest up to £250 million a year, Mason explained. After the 61 chain reaches critical mass in California, Nevada and Arizona, Adams, the former Tesco chief in Thailand, is expected to be relocated to Chicago and the Midwest, reported the paper.

While expansion would require more than the allotted five-year investment, Mason stopped short of ruling out an expansion before 2012. "I wouldn't say that. We
wouldn't do anything else until we have explained how we are doing here," he said.