Tesco is firming up its plans for its launch into the United States next year and has confirmed that its property boss is now leading its Stateside drive to find sites.

Tony Eggs, the former UK property acquisitions director, has been transferred to the US as chief real estate officer to head the search for suitable locations for the new format, believed to be called Fresh & Easy.

The name was used in an advertisement in the United States for staff for the venture and Tesco has also registered it as a trademark at The Patent Office.

Eggs has begun working with US real estate broker Pacific Retail Partners. Press reports this week said that documents published by the broker outlined that it was searching for sites of about 14,000 sq ft in Los Angeles and San Bernadino counties in California.

A spokesman for Tesco said that it was essential for Eggs to be on location to prepare the Stateside team for the launch of the c-store chain, backed by an annual £250m investment.

Analysts have speculated that 100 stores are planned.

The spokesman added: "He's there to brief the teams. He'll be a part of working out the strategy for the roll-out in 2007. But he's not there with a wodge of cash to start buying things."

Eggs joins former marketing director Tim Mason who was appointed to lead the US team, including a dozen UK staff. The US property team is headed regionally by two real estate directors, Walter Cathey and Adam Mayfield.