Fresh & Easy, Tesco’s US business, is considering smaller stores as it seeks out new locations in northern California.

The retailer is mulling shops of about 5,000 sq ft. Fresh & Easy’s existing stores range in size from 10,000 sq ft to 15,000 sq ft.

The reduced size would allow Tesco to operate in more places and create more opportunities in urban areas as well as suburban districts.

A spokesman said: “Although we primarily look for 10,000 sq ft stores, we remain flexible in our store footprint in order to open in all different types of neighbourhoods.”

He said the smaller stores would continue to focus on “fresh, wholesome food at affordable prices”.

Fresh & Easy has found 13 locations in northern California, which will start to open from next month. At present it has no shops in that part of the state.

Tesco’s incoming chief executive Philip Clarke has made appointments to the group executive committee, taking effect on March 1 when he succeeds Sir Terry Leahy.

The new members include Gordon Fryett, responsible for property, Trevor Masters, who looks after central and Eastern Europe, Mike McNamara, chief information officer, Bob Robbins, UK chief operating officer and Ken Towle, internet retailing director.