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• The Wall Street Journal adds to the cacophony about Tesco's troubles, writing this morning that the retailer is "scrambling to address its missteps at home. In the process, it is transitioning from a ravenous retailer that was adding new markets, services and storefronts at a rapid clip to one that is wringing the most out of existing operations and adopting more caution. At the same time, Tesco is pulling back on its global ambitions."

According to the story, "For years, Tesco dominated food sales with its powerful loyalty-card program, strong private-label products and low prices, and muscled beyond food into areas such as banking and mobile phones ... Its U.K. operation - which accounts for two-thirds of its £72 billion in annual sales - allowed Tesco to fund an ambitious overseas expansion in China, the U.S. and elsewhere. But some of those foreign gambits are faltering, and the money Tesco spent chasing foreign growth left the domestic operation starved for investment. Stores in Britain weren't properly staffed, the fresh-fruit and -vegetable aisles started looking picked over, and the chain didn't invest in refreshing the private-label products to entice shoppers."

The extent of the global problems, the Journal writes, means that CEO Philip Clarke "has pulled the plug on Tesco's business in Japan, put the brakes on store development in China, ruled out major expansion in India for now, and slashed capital expenditure at the U.S. Fresh & Easy chain until it makes a profit. Some analysts expect Tesco to exit the U.S. altogether, and some investors have been pushing the company to do so."
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