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Web grocer moves into new markets

In a move to capitalize on what it sees as a boom in grocery shopping at home, British grocer Tesco expands its U.S. online operations to include Southern California.

British grocer Tesco this week will expand its U.S. online operations to include Southern California as it reports a boom in such sales back home.

Tesco, which operates in the United States through a partnership with Safeway, has already launched online service in the San Diego, San Francisco and Sacramento areas of California, as well as in Portland, Ore., and Vancouver, Wash.

Tesco did not say where the new service will launch, but the site says it is debuting online services in Orange County, the San Fernando Valley, the San Gabriel Valley and West Los Angeles.

The company's move comes as the online grocery market as a whole is showing some signs of recovery from the dot-com bust and from the demise of companies such as Webvan.

In the United States, Safeway operates stores under the Vons, Pavilions, Carr?s, Dominick's, Randall's, Tom Thumb and Genuardis brands. Its online stores use technology from, a joint partnership between Safeway and Tesco.

In the United Kingdom, Tesco announced this week that sales at rose 27 percent in the first half of the year, compared with the same period last year. The site recorded a profit of $2.91 million (1.9 million pounds), excluding one-time charges for the GroceryWorks launch. The company says it now takes 85,000 weekly orders.

Tesco said it recently launched grocery shopping through personal digital assistants in an effort to boost use. Tesco also plans to expand further into Ireland and Korea, the company said.