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Tesco’s planned new Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market stores in the US will include a private label line products “with no trans fats and no artificial colours or flavours”, according to the retailer’s first efforts to introduce itself to new US consumers.

In its first bid to communicate directly with potential customers, the retailer has mailed a newsletter to households in some of the areas where it is planning to open stores, promising “great food you can trust at unbelievably low prices”.

Published in English and Spanish, the newsletter says the stores, with around 10,000 sq ft of selling space, “will be easily accessible and offer everything from everyday staples to gourmet items”, as well as “pre-prepared and organic foods”, and the “fresh&easy” private brand products.

The newsletter also underlines Tesco’s strategy of aiming at mainstream US consumers - and at customers of existing US traditional supermarkets - with a slogan declaring that “everyone deserves fresh and healthy foods” and a stress on affordability.

The retailer has yet to officially announce locations of its new stores, which it says will start opening in mid to late 2007. But the more than 70 sites so far indentified by the FT from planning documents include both inner city and suburban neighboroods in southern California, Nevada and Arizona, with a range of local populations that are in some cases more than 80 per cent Hispanic.

The newsletter also stresses the company’s efforts to market itself in the US as an environmentally-friendly retailer, published in the green shades of the retailer’s US logo, rather than Tesco’s traditional red, white and blue.

Green will also be used on the outside of its stores and appears on the business cards of its employees.

The retailer also says its stores will be using low energy display lighting as well as “specially engineered” refrigeration units, and highlights the large solar arrays that it is planning to build on its main distribution centre in Riverside, California.

In an indication of the likely future direction of its US operation, Tesco has recently hired a real estate consultant in Sacramento, in northern California. It has also established a legal presence in Colorado.

Tesco said on Tuesday it expects to spend £65m ($130m) on its US start up this year, up from a previous estimate of £20m ($40m). It has said it expects to spend an average of $400m annually on its US operation over the coming five years.

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