(March 3, 5:24 p.m.) In Tesco’s latest expansion move in the U.S., Tim Mason, chief executive officer of the United Kingdom based-retailer’s Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market, El Segundo, Calif., said there will be 19 more markets opening in the Sacramento, Calif., region.

Mason, along with Sacramento Mayor Heather Fargo and Councilman Ray Tretheway, announced the move Feb. 28. Markets are scheduled to open in south Sacramento, Oak Park, Citrus Heights, Elk Grove, Folsom, Rancho Cordova, Rocklin and Vacaville, according to a press release.

“The Sacramento region is a great fit for us,” Mason said in the release. “It is vibrant, fast growing and widely known as having one of the most diverse populations in the U.S.”

Mason said he has been encouraged by the response to the markets.

“We’re looking forward to bringing fresh, wholesome food at affordable prices to all types of neighborhoods throughout the Sacramento area,” he said in the release. “Every single week brings more good news as sales, customer numbers and repeat visits are all growing.”

The five-year rollout that has so far resulted in 55 markets in Southern California, Nevada and Arizona at a cost of $2 billion, has not gone without some challenges.

In February, the United Food & Commercial Workers Union, Washington, D.C., questioned Tesco’s expansion plans and treatment of its workers in Europe.

Claims of selling meats and produce past their expiration dates have plagued the retailer for a number of years, according to European media reports.

Not to let Tesco go unchallenged, Bentonville, Ark-based Wal-Mart Stores Inc. may be planning to build similar sized, 20,000-square-foot “Marketside” stores.