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British retailer Tesco has opened its first Northern California Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Markets, in San Jose and Danville.

The openings are the first of more than a dozen Fresh & Easy stores set to open early this year in Northern California.

"We opened our first stores in 2007 with the goal of creating a modern, 21st century grocery store," said Fresh & Easy CEO Tim Mason. "Fast forward to today, and we have 166 stores and more than 4,500 employees. We know our fresh prepared meals, our less processed foods and our very competitive prices will be very well received by Northern California shoppers. Today marks another significant step for our business and we couldn't be more excited."
KC's View:
While I can appreciate Tim Mason’s optimism and excitement, maybe “fast forward” isn’t exactly the phrase to use, since the Fresh & Easy rollout has not been as fast and as smooth as the company hoped and expected. It has been a rocky road, and the company has had to tweak its approach more than might be expected, given the vaunted amount of consumer research that Tesco did before entering the US.

That said, I give Fresh & Easy and Tim Mason a lot of credit for staying focused on its goals and not packing it in. They keep working the west coast, expanding slowly and trying to get the mix right.