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OAKLAND, CA-Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market, the new US neighborhood grocery chain by UK-based retail giant Tesco has tied up 18 locations in the Bay Area, CEO Tim Mason said at a press conference here on Wednesday. The first stores will begin opening in 2009.

Typically 10,000 sf, the stores will be located in Mountain View, Sunnyvale, San Jose, Hayward, Walnut Creek, Antioch, Concord, Danville, Fairfield, Napa, Oakland, Oakley, Vallejo and San Francisco. A company spokesperson could not immediately say over what period of time the stores would open.

The Oakland store will be located at 73rd and Bancroft avenues. The San Francisco stores will be located at 3rd Street and Carroll Avenue, and at Silver Avenue and Goettingen Street. The San Jose stores will be located at Bird and Minnesota avenues, and at Almaden Road and Curtner Avenue.

Tesco has invested $2 billion over five years in Fresh & Easy, which currently has 37 locations open throughout Southern California and in Nevada and Arizona, with another 13 expected to open by the end of February. The stores put an emphasis on fresh, prepared foods and produce, as well as national brand products and household items.

The announcement of its plans in the Bay Area come on the heels of press reports about Tesco’s decision not to release comprehensive sales data on the new chain until next year. Its plans instead to release only partial sales data this April prompted a story in the Telegraph newspaper in London titled “Have Tesco’s US Stores Failed to Win the West.”

In addition to San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose, stores are slated for the following cities:

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