LONDON — The fledgling Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market operation showed heavy losses in its first reported results, but sales were improving, parent company Tesco said Tuesday. Beset by high initial overhead and a slow ramp-up in sales performance, the 90-store chain launched by Tesco last year showed a loss of $106.8 million on around $135 million sales for the 26-week period ending Aug. 23, Tesco officials said. The company previously had included its U.S. results along with its core holdings in the U.K. In a conference call discussing financial results, Terry Leahy, chief executive officer, described performance at Fresh & Easy as “very encouraging,” with average sales of $11 per square foot per week, which he said exceeded industry averages. The best stores in the chain are averaging around $25 per square foot per week and stores opened since making operational improvements in the spring are averaging $13 per square foot per week. “Some of the small adjustments we made in terms of warmer in-store ambience, introduction of some promotions, a limited number of promotions have helped,” he said.
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