Tesco is set to open its first smaller format Fresh & Easy store in November.

The new Fresh & Easy Express store will be half the size of existing Fresh & Easys, at about 4,000 sq ft, and open in Southern California. Others are expected to open in areas that cannot accommodate a full-size store.

However, Tesco’s primary focus will remain on Fresh & Easy’s regular format. Tesco recently opened 12 new stores in Northern California, including two in San Francisco. It is also gearing up to start testing its first loyalty card programme at seven stores in Central California. The scheme will begin in the autumn.

Fresh & Easy was ranked third on Kantar Retail’s Stores Hot 100 Retailers list, which measures retail chains with the greatest increase in domestic sales in 2009 to 2010 Fresh & Easy grew 37.8%.