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Tesco bows out

After eight years and some £250m Tesco is quitting Japan

Pulling down the curtain on Tesco’s Japanese mini-drama is a sign of realism from incoming chief executive Philip Clarke. After eight years and some £250m Clarke has finally decided that Tesco is never going to be big in Japan. It helps that the Japanese shops were part of his fiefdom prior to becoming Terry Leahy’s replacement. Much better to stick with virgin territory such as Poland, Turkey and Hungary than take the business to already developed markets.

Which logically points Clarke in the direction of Tesco’s ailing Fresh & Easy US outpost. He has warned that it must turn a profit by 2013, but some shareholders argue he is bottling an obvious decision now.

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