Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Tesco Fresh & Easy Update: Las Vegas

Five Fresh & Easy Markets Open Tomorrow In Las Vegas

Tesco Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Markets CEO Tim Mason (right) and store manager Pablo Artica (left) opened the Glassell Park neighborhood Fresh & Easy market in Los Angeles on November 8. It's on to Las Vegas tomorrow for the Fresh & Easy team. (Courtesy AP.)

Tesco will open it's first Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Markets outside of California tomorrow morning, when five of the convenience-oriented fresh food and grocery stores open in the Las Vegas, Nevada metropolitan region.

The opening of the five Las Vegas stores all on the same day come just a week after Tesco held the grand openings for six Fresh & Easy markets in Southern California on November 8. Those now opened stores are in the cities of Los Angeles, Anaheim, West Covina, Arcadia, Upland and Hemet.

The locations of the five Las Vegas stores opening tomorrow at 10:00AM are:

  • Tropicana & Durango
  • Tropicana & Jones
  • Bermuda & Silverado Ranch
  • Lake Mead & Del Webb
  • Warm Springs & Eastern

Tesco will be offering a full day of grand opening events at each location tomorrow at 10:00AM. There will be food and beverage samplings, entertainment, promotions and other opening-day excitement, according to a Tesco spokesperson.

Like the six stores that opened last week in Southern California, the Las Vegas region stores average about 10,000 square feet of retail selling space. Each store will employee about 20-30 retail associates, according to Tesco.

Fresh & Easy could do well in fast-paced Las Vegas, which is a 24-hour city and one of the fastest growing metropolitan regions in the U.S. It's residents work 24/7 in the gaming, entertainment and other industries, and should find the Fresh & Easy format, which features fresh, prepared and heat & heat foods, along with basic and specialty grocery and perishable products, conducive to their time-pressed lifestyles. The small format stores also allow for quick in-and-out shopping.

One unique in-store feature many retail food stores in Las Vegas have are slot machines and other gaming devices. Gambling is legal in the city and many supermarkets, convenience stores and gas stations take advantage of that fact by locating slot machines in their stores. We asked Fresh & Easy marketing director Simon Uwins via his blog yesterday if the Las Vegas Fresh & Easy stores will have slot machines located inside them. However, as of 8:00PM tonight we haven't heard back with an answer. We suspect he's rather busy in Las Vegas about now, getting ready for tomorrow morning along with the rest of the Fresh & Easy team.

More Southern California stores coming soon

In addition to the six Southern California stores opened on November 8 (one store, in Hemet, actually was opened a week earlier) and the grocery markets opening tomorrow in Las Vegas, Tesco will open a new Fresh & Easy in the Southern California city of Chula Vista (@ 865 E. H street) on Friday, November 16. Chula Vista is in the far southern portion of California, below San Diego and near the Mexican border.

Additionally, on November 28 two more stores will open in Southern California--one at 23719 Moultan Parkway in Laguna Hills, and the other at 5615 Woodruff Ave., in the city of Lakewood. With the six stores currently open in Southern California, and the additional three opening in the next couple weeks, Tesco will have nine Fresh & Easy grocery markets operating in the region by the end of November. More stores are scheduled to open in Southern California in December.

First Arizona stores to open on December 5.

The first Fresh & Easy grocery markets in Arizona will open in early December. four stores will open in the cities of Mesa and Chandler on December 5. This has been confirmed by a Tesco Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Markets spokesperson.

Additionally, Tesco hopes to open a couple more Fresh & Easy stores in Arizona before the end of the year. All told, the company has a goal of having about 27-30 of the convenience-oriented grocery stores operating in Arizona by the end of 2008. Most of the stores will be in the Phoenix metropolitan region.

Northern California in 2008

Tesco also has plans for stores in Northern and Central California. As we've reported, the retailer has secured it's first location for a Fresh & Easy market in Northern California in the Bay Area city of San Jose. That store will be located on Bird Avenue in San Jose in a former Albertsons' supermarket building which Tesco will renovate. The store is slated to open in early to mid 2008. Tesco also is in negotiations with a shopping center owner to obtain a lease on a building in Danville, which is an upscale community in the Easy Bay Area.

Company executives are talking with shopping center management firms, developers, city officials and others all over the nine county Bay Area in their search for multiple locations for Fresh & Easy stores for 2008. In addition, Tesco is negotiating with a shopping center owner in Bakersfield, in Central California, to locate it's first Fresh & Easy store in the middle of the state. Fresh & Easy representatives also are looking for store locations throughout the Sacramento region, as well as in the Central Valley cities of Stockton and Modesto, according to our commercial real estate, city government and other sources.

We've also have been told by a reliable source that Tesco is looking to locate a smaller version of its large 820,000 square foot distribution center (which is located in Riverside, Southern California), in Northern California, to serve it's eventual Fresh & Easy grocery markets in the region. This smaller distribution center would serve Fresh & Easy stores located in the Bay Area, Northern California and the Central Valley.

We've heard various numbers, but the goal of having about 100 Fresh & Easy markets in the next two years in Northern and Central California is the number we're hearing most often from our most reliable sources. Stay tuned. For now, it's on to Vegas for the Fresh & Easy team.

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