Published on: June 16, 2008The Financial Times reports on an interview with Tim Mason, CEO of Tesco’s Fresh & Easy operation in the western US, in which he suggests that when the company brought in American Jeff Adams – who had been running Tesco’s Thailand business – to help out with Fresh & Easy, it was with the long-term goal of having him run a Fresh & Easy division in another part of the US.
“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 tells FT, which suggests that there are broad hints that Chicago and the Midwest are next on Tesco’s US agenda.
No specific timetable for further expansion is laid out by Mason, but he does say that it could happen before 2012. And Mason tells “the Financial Times that Fresh & Easy was thriving, in spite of suggestions of poor early results,” according to the story.
- KC's View:
- History suggests that this story will immediately launch a barrage of emails saying that Tim Mason is blowing smoke, and that Fresh & Easy’s approach is problematic at best, and its future is by no means certain.
I suspect that Fresh & Easy is neither as successful as Mason would have us believe nor as big a disaster as outsiders say. But I’m also fairly certain that the upside potential is significant, and that Tesco is patient and smart enough to make the format work in future times and for future customers. Wal-Mart and Safeway getting into the small store business will only make Tesco sharper, I suspect.
There’s plenty of room for cynicism and disbelief if you want to engage in it. I continue to believe that Fresh & Easy is more likely than not to be successful.