Despite the failures, some Brits are doing well on the other side of the Atlantic.
In contrast to Tesco's experience in the United States, another British retailer, Sir Philip Green, the owner of Topshop, has played his hand smartly, so far. Topshop has stand-alone stores in New York, Chicago and Las Vegas, but it has also partnered with Nordstrom, the upmarket US department store, and is opening 14 stores within stores, a low-risk way of building the brand.
Sir Philip sold a quarter of the Topshop and Topman business to Leonard Green, a US private equity group, this month in a deal that values the brands at £2 billion (Dh11.84bn). The money will help Topshop to expand in overseas markets.
Burberry is another British brand doing well across the pond. Revenue from the Americas rose by 7 per cent to £202.8 million in the half year to the end of September. Of course, it may help that the chief executive, Angela Ahrendts, is American.
Ted Baker opened its first stand-alone US store in New York, in 1998, and now has 44 outlets, including concessions in stores like Bloomingdales. It earns £20m in sales in the US. Women's fashion brand Karen Millen has 24 outlets in the US.
Alliance Boots, the owner of chemists chain Boots, a high street stalwart in the United Kingdom for more than 160 years, this year sold a 45 per cent stake to the US drugstore chain Walgreens for US$6.7bn (Dh24.61bn).
The deal will see major Boots brands such as No7cosmetics and the Botanics hair and skincare range in nearly 8,000 Walgreens and Duane Reade stores.
Pret a Manger, the UK sandwich bar, first opened in New York in 2000 and has been expanding slowly since. It now has 35 stores in New York, seven in Chicago, two in Boston and six in Washington.
There were initial problems, with customers finding the sandwiches too small, but the company is comfortable there and growing at what it considers to be a sustainable pace.