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• In California, the Daily Breeze reports that Tesco hopes to have its first Fresh & Easy Express store - a really small 4,000 square foot version of its 10,000 square foot small store format - open in San Pedro by Thanksgiving, though it concedes that it may not open until early 2012.

Fresh& notes that Tesco is looking for other locations where it can put the Express stores, and will model them to some degree on its successful Tesco Express stores in the UK. Two other locations in Southern California reportedly have been identified, and Northern California - especially urban San Francisco - also is said to be a target market for the format.

• Published reports say that Tesco is so pleased with the test of a virtual supermarket in South Korea that it plans to expand the concept ... and is even looking for other places it can use it, such as the UK.

In late June, MNB reported on how Tesco-owned Home Plus in South Korea had been endeavoring to grow market share, especially in its online business. Central to its strategizing is the fact that a population of less than 50 million uses 10 million smart phones, and that it is extremely time-constrained.

And so, Tesco tested a concept that had it plastering the glass walls of select subway stations with pictures of their products, laid out just as they’d be in a traditional shop. The ‘shelves’ featured QR codes that could be scanned by a mobile phone, building up a shopping basket in the few minutes before the train arrives. If the train comes before the basket is complete, the shopper can carry on shopping without the pictures and codes, or simply wait until they get to the next subway station with the system.

The virtual store will be available throughout the Seoul subway system next month, in other areas of South Korea over the next two years ... and after that, who knows?
KC's View:
As I said when this virtual store story first popped, I think it is a fascinating system, and one that you can see if you click here.

If Tesco is thinking about expanding it to the UK, how interesting would it be if it could manage to put it in some London tube stops in time for next year’s London Summer Olympics?

As for Fresh & Easy Express ... it is yet more evidence that Tesco has no intention of abandoning its US operation.