LAS VEGAS-The hectic pace of the 24/7 Vegas lifestyle is now going to be served by a new grocery store designed for the quick shopper. The United Kingdom-based Tesco, which operates 2,800 stores across 12 countries, is bringing a 10,000-sf prototype store to the Vegas region, as well as the Phoenix, Los Angeles and San Diego retail markets.

With a massive increase in visitor account, retailers are learning that money that goes into Vegas doesn’t have to stay in Vegas. The local retail vacancy rate is in the 2%-3% range, and properties from the smallest store to large-scale malls are going up all over the city. Chris Dickey, with the local Lee & Associates office, says the city is just catching up to the booming growth. “It’s a cutthroat market,” Dickey says. “We have one of the closest radius between stores in the US, there’s two markets on every corner.”

However, he says the new 50,000-sf Wal-Mart size stores are not doing as well as the smaller and larger properties. He attributes this to the fast-paced life of living in one of the top tourist attractions. “With the 24-hour pace, it’s going to be a lot more convenient to run into a 10,000-sf store than a Wal-Mart,” he says.

Tesco plans to bring 14 of the new Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market stores to the Vegas area, starting this fall. The sites have already been secured and additional locations are being researched, said in the company in a statement. Store officials say the new format is a result of extensive customer research in local US markets, combined with the learning from Tesco’s Express format that it operates in more than 1,000 stores in seven countries. The company opens up 50 of the Express stores each year, made up of about 3,000 sf of retail space in gas stations, stocking fresh and frozen food, a bakery in even alcohol.

A Tesco spokesman tells that the company is not ready to discuss the details of the new US store layout or offerings, other than to say the markets will offer fresh fruit and prepared foods. The company is reportedly also securing two distribution centers in the Southwest, including a two million sf location in California and another in the Phoenix, AZ area.

Many expect the stores to have somewhat of a Trader Joe’s style, though the spokesman bristled at this suggestion when asked by Dickey says he envisions a combination of a Trader Joe’s and a 7-11, with a delicatessen in the center. It doesn’t matter that much how they are designed, as long as they’re much smaller and convenient than the new Wal-Mart size, say some neighboring tenants who don’t want a large super, Dickey says. “We have a Marco’s Pizza franchise going into Henderson, NV, where one of the Tesco stores are planned, and the Marco’s owner is very excited. They wanted nothing to do with Wal-Mart,” he says.