Fresh & Easy, Tesco’s US operation, is to test smaller format Fresh & Easy Express shops later this year.

A handful of Fresh & Easy Express stores of around 3,000 sq ft will be tried out in south California. They will feature a selected range of fresh and frozen products, ready meals and daily staples, similar to the Tesco Express stores in the UK.

A spokesman said the change would to allow Tesco to open in more places in the US which would not be suitable for a full 10,000 sq ft store.

Tesco chief executive Philip Clarke has pledged previously that Fresh & Easy will break even towards the end of the 2012/13 financial year.