CHESHUNT, England — Tesco here said this week that early customer response to its first Fresh & Easy stores in the U.S. “has been very encouraging.” The company made the remark in reporting a 12.8% gain in total company sales for the six-week period that ended Jan. 5. It did not break out sales for the 28 Fresh & Easy stores, which are located in Southern California, Las Vegas and Phoenix. Sales in the company’s core U.K. market were up 8%, including same-store sales gains of 5.1%. ...

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