So Tesco is planning a raid on Los Angeles' poorest neighbourhoods. It's a bold manoeuvre, especially when you consider that many blame Kwik Save's current problems on the fact that so many of its stores are in some of the UK's worst locations. Somerfield converted all the Kwik Save stores in plum ­locations to Somerfield formats before spinning the soft discount chain off in February last year. Tesco, however, is actively seeking to bring fresh and healthy foods to poorer areas in Los Angeles, and is banking on this contrarian strategy to defy the odds once again. The rewards are potentially high for Britain's biggest grocer. But the costs of failure would be even higher. The frosty welcome that Tesco is getting from the residents of Gerrards Cross is nothing compared with the blizzard that would greet Tim Mason and his colleagues if they returned from the United States empty-handed in a few years' time. Now, that really would provoke a riot.

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