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The head of French supermarket company Leclerc said on Wednesday the coronavirus crisis was disrupting the supplies of some basic staples in its stores but that there were no shortages to fear. Lecler said there was disruption to supplies of basic staples such as pasta, rice, or toilet paper in some stores as consumers were stocking up in areas most affected by the virus, such as eastern France or the Oise region, north of Paris.
Let's talk about the popular Carrefour SA (EPA:CA). The company's shares saw significant share price movement during...
* European stocks rally on strong PMI data * STOXX 600 hits fresh record high * UK PMI data casts doubt on BoE rate hike * Remy Cointreau drops heavily after weak Q3 results Welcome to the home for real-time coverage of European equity markets brought to you by Reuters stocks reporters and anchored today by Joice Alves. Reach her on Messenger to share your thoughts on market moves: email@example.com SO MUCH TO LOOK FORWARD TO NEXT WEEK (1615 GMT) There's news you just can't anticipate, like a deadly virus outbreak, a drone strike threatening a major Middle East war, market moving trade tweets from U.S. President Donald Trump, a disastrous profit warning that sets an entire sector on fire, the list goes on. Big Ben may not be bonging but after more than three years of drama at 11pm and on the stroke of midnight in Brussels the UK will leave the European Union and venture into a brave new world.
* European stocks rally 1.2% on strong PMI data * STOXX 600 hits fresh record high * UK PMI data casts doubt on BoE rate hike * Remy Cointreau drops heavily after weak Q3 results Welcome to the home for real-time coverage of European equity markets brought to you by Reuters stocks reporters and anchored today by Joice Alves. Reach her on Messenger to share your thoughts on market moves: firstname.lastname@example.org STOXX 600 TEASING UP AND DOWN THE RECORD HIGH LINE (1245 GMT) European stocks smoothly beat Wednesday's 424.94 points record this morning and have since being hovering up and down that level. The new all time high is now 425.36 points but there's little doubt the STOXX 600 could go even higher today should Wall Street, where future are trading 0.2% to 0.3% higher, open on a bullish note.
Welcome to the home for real-time coverage of European equity markets brought to you by Reuters stocks reporters and anchored today by Joice Alves. European bourses opened in positive territory driven by risk-on trades across the board with banks, miners and financial services topping the pan-European STOXX 600 index, which is up 1%. Remy Cointreau shares slid 9.7% after weak 3Q results, as demand for cognac in Hong Kong was hit by protests.
Dividend paying stocks like Carrefour SA (EPA:CA) tend to be popular with investors, and for good reason - some...
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- French supermarket operator Casino Guichard Perrachon SA has been a favorite plaything for short-selling hedge funds. So for its recovery to take two steps backward is a blow for the group and its chief executive officer, Jean-Charles Naouri.The owner of the Monoprix and Franprix chains looked as if it was gradually getting out of the woods, with Casino making a series of disposals and completing a refinancing, and its parent Rallye SA attempting to work through its 2.9 billion euros ($3.2 billion) of net debt after entering a creditor protection program last year.But things are never so straight-forward for the two companies, which are inextricably tied. (Rallye is Naouri’s investment vehicle.) Now a profit warning, together with some bondholders rejecting Rallye’s plan to repay 1.6 billion euros of debt over 10 years, throw into question Casino’s nascent recovery.The retailer on Thursday halved its forecast for the expansion in trading profit in 2019 to 5%, after fourth-quarter retail sales were worse than expected. Strikes in France during the crucial holiday shopping period shaved about 2% off of its fourth-quarter sales. It wasn’t alone. Fnac Darty SA, which sells books, music, electronics and home appliances, also said the unrest over a proposed pension overhaul hurt its revenue. But Casino shares fell as much as 13%, the most in more than a year, indicating that investors weren’t convinced the problems are confined to the disruption.While both Casino and Rallye were saddled with debt, the underlying French business has been in acceptable shape, with exposure to faster growing segments such as convenience stores. If this stability is now under threat, that is a concern, not just for Casino’s progress, but Rallye’s restructuring too.Bondholders rejecting Rallye’s plan — with the company failing to win support in four out of five euro-bond classes — is a sign the coast isn’t yet clear on that front either. But the vote isn’t binding on the Paris court that’s set to rule on the plan by the end of March.However, the profit warning doesn’t make the situation any easier. First, Rallye’s main asset is its 52% holding in Casino, so a weaker share price might make creditors, particularly the banks, feel less comfortable with the plan. Second, the revised profit guidance makes it even more difficult for Casino to generate cash to pay the dividends to Rallye that are necessary for the group to reduce its own borrowings.Casino has said that it will not make a distribution this year. After that it can make a payment, but its ability to do so will be capped by the terms of its recent refinancing. There could be special dividends from a sale of the Leader Price discount chain to Aldi, which is being discussed, or offloading assets in Latin America, but returning to regular pay-outs looks even more challenging.Of course the share price decline may have another effect: Making a takeover of Casino more likely. Rivals in France’s highly competitive supermarket industry, such as Carrefour SA, have a duty to a look to see if they can make hay from the retailer’s misery. Casino also has an online partnership with Amazon.com Inc. It’s also worth watching what Czech billionaire Daniel Kretinsky and his partner Patrik Tkac have up their sleeves after they acquired a 4.6% stake in Casino last year.But until any suitor shows their hand, Casino investors and bondholders face the prospect of a long, drawn out grind toward better times. As for short sellers, they get another spin of the wheel.\--With assistance from Marcus Ashworth.To contact the author of this story: Andrea Felsted at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Melissa Pozsgay at firstname.lastname@example.orgThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Andrea Felsted is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering the consumer and retail industries. She previously worked at the Financial Times.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- In the heart of New Delhi’s largest wholesale bazaar, merchants who normally compete with each other have united against a common enemy.“Amazon, Flipkart!” one merchant after another shouts into a microphone from a small stage in Sadar Bazaar’s central traffic circle. Some 50 other shopkeepers gathered around shout back in unison: “Go back! Go back!”The sit-in, which created more chaos than usual among the rickshaws, motorbikes and ox-carts plying the market road, was one of as many as 700 protests against Amazon.com Inc. and Walmart Inc. -- owner of local e-commerce leader Flipkart -- that organizers say took place at bazaars across India on a recent Wednesday.Predatory PricingIndia’s shopkeepers are mobilizing against the global e-commerce giants, alleging they are engaged in predatory pricing in violation of new rules meant to protect local businesses. At stake is the future of retailing in a country with 1.3 billion consumers, where Walmart and Amazon have sunk billions of dollars trying the crack the market and capture its growth potential.“Amazon and Flipkart are a second version of the East India company,” said Praveen Khandelwal, national secretary of the Confederation of All India Traders at the Delhi protest, referring to the British trading house whose arrival in India kicked off nearly 200 years of colonial rule. “The motive of Amazon and Flipkart is not to do business, but to monopolize and control.”India’s government in October announced an investigation into the allegations of predatory pricing. Amazon and Walmart said in statements to Bloomberg News last week that their operations comply with Indian laws, and that they act only as a third-party marketplace.The conflict comes amid a broader global backlash against the breakneck expansion of tech firms -- from protests by taxi drivers against an Uber-clone in Jakarta, to couriers for a Softbank-backed delivery startup creating a bonfire of their backpacks in Bogota in protest of low wages and poor benefits.Worsening PainIndia’s slowing economy -- it expanded at the slowest pace in more than six years last quarter -- and the accompanying consumption slowdown has worsened the pain of these neighborhood stores.Representing about 70 million small merchants who collectively control almost 90% of India’s retail trade, India’s shopkeepers union has shown itself to be a strong political force. The traders are an important part of the voter base of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party.“For a government, especially a government of the BJP, which has the support of small businessmen, it may not be prudent or politically advisable to totally ignore such demands,” said Sandeep Shastri, a political scientist at Jain University in Bangalore. “They would have to be seen taking some steps at least.”The union’s power is a significant reason the government has placed such onerous restrictions on foreign retailers -- including a minimum $100 million investment and strict local sourcing rules. Because of the hurdles, the likes of Walmart and Carrefour SA have all but given up on opening their eponymous stores in the country.The shopkeepers won a key victory against the foreign e-commerce players last year when the government tightened regulations on how the platforms are allowed to sell goods. The rules, aimed at creating a level playing field on pricing, forced Amazon and Flipkart to pull thousands of items from their virtual shelves and restructure large parts of their local operations.The changes, coming after Walmart announced its acquisition of Flipkart, threw the foreign companies into chaos and prompted analysts to question their India investments. With Amazon shut out of China and Walmart’s e-commerce performance in the U.S. decidedly mixed, both companies have settled on India as key to growth. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has pledged to spend $5.5 billion to win India, while Walmart’s $16 billion Flipkart deal was the retailer’s biggest ever.Now the shopkeepers are alleging Amazon and Flipkart are circumventing the rules with predatory pricing and deep discounting. They are demanding the government shut down the companies’ online marketplaces until they are in compliance.Amazon said its sellers have complete discretion on what price to sell their products. Flipkart said it provides sellers with data to help determine what product offerings will sell best at what price, but business decisions are ultimately the sellers’ to make.The flash point for the latest escalation was Diwali, a Hindu festival that’s occasion for a gift-giving bonanza akin to Christmas in Western countries. This year’s festival in October came amid a slowdown in consumer spending that’s hit everyone from carmakers to shampoo sellers. But while the shopkeepers union said its members saw as much as a 60% drop in Diwali sales, Amazon and Flipkart managed to report record revenue from the six-day festival.The shopkeepers union argued that the online holiday deals must be in violation of the new rules, prompting Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal to announce an investigation.“E-commerce companies have no right to offer discounts or adopt predatory prices,” Goyal said in October. “Selling products cheaper and resulting the retail sector to incur losses is not allowed.” Another government official said policy makers are looking at setting up a dedicated e-commerce regulator.A spokesperson for the commerce and industry ministry didn’t respond to an email seeking comment.Vinod Kumar, a 35-year-old shopkeeper selling women’s cosmetics in the Delhi bazaar, is looking for relief. Standing by his small stall, he picks up a bottle of a rosewater-based hair product. He sells it for 40 rupees (56 cents), but says customers can get it from Amazon or Flipkart for 30 rupees, with delivery right to their home.Heat, Crowds“If everything is available online, why would anyone come here to face the heat and the crowds?” he says. “My business is shrinking by the day.”Kumar says if the situation continues he may go out of business, as many other shops already have.Overall data show sales at traditional mom-and-pop shops are still growing in India. Though these stores have seen a decline in their share of total retail sales since 2014 as e-commerce and organized retail chains grab market share, the consumer market is expanding at such a pace that absolute spending with mom-and-pop shops increased nearly 60%, according to consultancy Technopak Advisors. That pace of absolute growth is projected to slow slightly to 50% over the next five years.That may be cold comfort to Muhammad Yusuf. The 72-year-old, who runs a jewelry shop at the Delhi bazaar, says he’s unable to match the prices online, has cut his staff from six employees to two and is in danger of not being able to pay rent.Yusuf is conspicuous in the e-commerce protest, however, in that he’s sporting a fleece jacket bearing the Amazon logo. Asked why he’s wearing it, he shrugs and says he needed something to keep him warm and found it in a clothing stall nearby. He bought it because it was cheap.(Updates with India’s GDP growth data in the eighth paragraph.)\--With assistance from Shruti Srivastava.To contact the reporter on this story: Ari Altstedter in Mumbai at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Rachel Chang at firstname.lastname@example.org, Jeff Sutherland, Bhuma ShrivastavaFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
When the little known Ken Murphy takes over next year as CEO of Tesco, Britain's biggest retailer, he will inherit something current boss Dave Lewis did not have the luxury of when he joined in 2014 - a strategy and a stable business. When former Unilever executive Lewis became CEO of Tesco on Sept. 1, 2014, the supermarket group was already reeling from a dramatic downturn in trading. Three weeks later, an accounting scandal plunged it into the biggest crisis in its history.