(Updated Thursday, October 4, 2007, at 6:44 p.m.)

The British are coming to Hesperia, and they're bringing groceries.

Hesperia will be receiving the High Desert's first Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market, a division of British retail giant Tesco, city officials announced Wednesday afternoon.

The new grocery store, set to open in spring 2008, will be located on the southeast corner of Main Street and Topaz Avenue and will be a smaller store than the city's current grocery stores, occupying a relatively modest 13,900 square feet, a little more than half the size of the city's Stater Brothers grocery stores.

"More of the flavor of a Traders Joe environment versus a traditional supermarket," Hesperia's Economic Development Director, Steve Lantsberger, said Wednesday afternoon. "It's a little bit different twist compared to a neighborhood supermarket. It's got its own niche, which is what they're trying to carve out in this market. ... I don't think they want to compete with the Staters of the world."

Tesco, the United Kingdom's largest retailer and the world's fourth-largest retailer overall, plans to open more than 100 supermarkets in Southern California over the next 12 months, including a dozen or more in November. A location in Apple Valley on Apple Valley Road and Yucca Loma Road and in Victorville on El Evado Road and Palmdale Road next year.

The Hesperia deal has been in the works for quite some time, according to Lantsberger.

"I'd say we've been working on this over the course of the last year."

Hesperia already has five major grocery stores, and Target and Wal-Mart locations featuring grocery stores set to open in the near future. Fresh & Easy will be focusing on fresh food and pre-prepared meals.

"They've studied the demographic, they've studied the opportunity," Lantsberger said. "They were very eager to put a foothold here in Hesperia."

Other tenants of the 51,000 square foot Topaz Marketplace shopping center have not been announced.

"Obviously there are other pads and other opportunities here as well," said Lantsberger.

Beau Yarbrough can be reached at 956-7108 or at beau@hesperiastar.com.