Today the Financial Times talks to Fresh & Easy boss Tim Mason about his wider brief at Tesco since taking on the group deputy chief executive job earlier this year.

Mason rules out a full-time return to the UK but admits he’s now spending around a third of his time outside the US.

The timing of his switch of focus is interesting – considering this is widely regarded as a make-or-break 12 months for the US business, which is meant to be breaking even by next year under his guidance.

But the move at least suggests the exchange of ideas on either side of the Atlantic is now a two-way process, as illustrated by the Goodness healthy kids’ range coming over here.

“Tesco has taught Fresh & Easy everything it knows but there are things that, as Fresh & Easy gets bigger, it can teach Tesco,” Mason told the FT.

As we reported earlier this week, Tesco is debuting a loyalty card in a handful of its stores in Bakersfield, California. Mason today calls that “the next stage in a steady programme of improvement – despite the economy, which gives us no help at all”.

“Clearly Tesco didn’t come to the US to have a business purely on the West Coast,” he says.

“What we have to do for our own benefit and for the benefit of our shareholders is demonstrate that we have a profitable business model in the market we are in, then explain how we intend to exploit that model in other places. It’s all there to be done.”