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Tesco decides against releasing sales figures for US business

LONDON (Thomson Financial) - Tesco PLC has decided against releasing comprehensive sales figures for its fledgling US business until next year amid scepticism that it can mount a serious challenge to Wal-Mart Stores Inc's dominance of the world's biggest food retailing market, according to a report in the Sunday Telegraph. One of America's most influential commentators on the grocery market has unveiled a list of criticisms of Fresh & Easy, Tesco's US operation, in his blog, accusing the business of failing to know what its customers want, mismanaging stock, and not living up to its green credentials, the report says. It quotes Jim Prevor, a food writer and publisher who edits two magazines about fresh produce and whose blog, perishablepundit.com, is read by thousands of Americans as saying: "My assessment is that from the customer count and the dollars being spent, it is not possible to make the enterprise profitable." Tesco launched the business on the US West Coast three months ago. In its January trading update issued earlier this month, Tesco said interest from US consumers had been "encouraging" but declined to give guidance on the stores' early performance. The Sunday Telegraph said speculation in the industry suggests the business may be undershooting internal sales estimates, but Tesco has said figures for the first 18 months will be "meaningless" while Fresh & Easy is being established. Tesco could not be reached for comment. [email protected] msc/jlw COPYRIGHT Copyright Thomson Financial News Limited 2007. All rights reserved. The copying, republication or redistribution of Thomson Financial News Content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Thomson Financial News.

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