|Bid||172.50 x 0|
|Ask||202.50 x 0|
|Day's range||196.10 - 201.70|
|52-week range||176.90 - 246.45|
|Beta (3Y monthly)||0.36|
|PE ratio (TTM)||15.70|
|Earnings date||12 Sep 2019|
|Forward dividend & yield||0.07 (3.35%)|
|1y target est||251.79|
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- This Christmas, instead of a free-range turkey, how about a beef-less Wellington washed down with a few glasses of “Nosecco”? And rather than falling asleep watching the Queen, why not tune in to your inner self with a spot of meditation?This might not sound like traditional festive fun, but now that the craze for all things vegan has crossed the Atlantic, it’s what British retailers are betting on to lift sluggish supermarket sales and see off brutal conditions on the high street, at least for a spell.A rough estimate suggests that across the big U.K. supermarket chains, meat-free offerings of traditional Christmas fare are up by between 40% and 400% this year. This underlines how veganism has moved from niche to mainstream over the course of 2019 as more consumers cut out animal products altogether, or reduce their meat intake with a “flexitarian” diet. Just look at the popularity of the vegan sausage roll introduced by baker Greggs Plc. There’s likely to be at least one vegan at any big Christmas gathering, and so being able to cater for them with plant-based canapés is crucial. And while many families won’t ditch the turkey altogether, they may well replace another meat protein, such as beef or gammon, with a fancy nut roast, savory yule log or vegetable wreath. Sales of plant-based substitutes still represent a small share of the overall grocery market, but they can have a significant influence over shopping habits. Being able to buy a good selection of food for a vegan daughter, for example, is likely to determine where shoppers fill up their grocery carts for the whole family. No wonder the category has become a key battleground.There’s another reason why it’s worth supermarkets’ while to go vegan. Plant-based versions of festive favorites such as pigs in blankets tend to be more complex to make and require innovative ingredients. J Sainsbury Plc is this year offering party food made from the blossom of the banana tree, which can be used as a substitute for fish. This builds on the popularity of the jackfruit, a tropical fruit that is a good alternative to pulled pork. All of this added value means supermarkets can charge a premium.QuicktakeThe Vegan EconomyThat won’t last forever though. The U.K. arms of the German discounters Aldi and Lidl are piling into this market too. Lidl has two Christmas-specific vegan lines, while Aldi has nine, including pastry crowns and vegan cocktail sausage rolls. Neither had a plant-based offering last year. Wm Morrison Supermarkets Plc recently cut the price of its foods that are free from certain ingredients, such as gluten, while Tesco Plc has launched an affordable plant-based range.In another sign of the times, supermarkets this Christmas season are bulking up on party drinks that are low in alcohol, or contain none at all. Not only do they tend to be premium products, particularly non-alcoholic spirits, but retailers don’t pay duty. So, while they can charge the same or more for a fancy but sober drink, they get to keep a bigger slice of the selling price.It helps that the market is growing rapidly, as many consumers, particularly younger people captivated more by their social media feeds than their real social life, reduce their alcohol intake. Beer led the way, spawning Budweiser’s Prohibition Brew and Brewdog’s Nanny State, with wines and particularly spirits exploding this year. Demand from supermarket shoppers follows the trend in clubs and pubs where “mocktails” are now a staple of the cocktail menu. Going on the wagon is usually associated with January, but the run-up to Christmas can also be a time for restraint as people become more conscious of pacing themselves through rounds of festive events, not to mention all of those designated drivers. Asda, the U.K. arm of Walmart Inc., estimated that December sales of low- and no-alcohol drinks are double those of the average month. It’s all part of the new mood around Christmas, characterized by rising environmental awareness and a focus on health and wellness. Throw in the ongoing uncertainty around Brexit and the general election, and there are fewer celebrity blockbuster Christmas advertisements this year, with most retailers returning to traditional themes such as family and nostalgia for the past.Even tree trimmings are falling in with the trend. The Sanctuary range from John Lewis features pastel hued baubles including Buddha heads and an ornament depicting a woman reclining in a luxurious bubble bath. Its focus is on serenity — something that’s often in short supply over the busy festive season.After the decorations come down, consumers may continue to embrace plant-based diets with Veganuary, which has rocketed in popularity over the past five years. Dry January will bolster sales of no- and low-alcohol ranges. But beyond that, it could well be retailers themselves that are in need of some self-care. The months following the holidays are often lean ones, as consumers rein in spending after the excess of Christmas. It can also be tricky for supermarkets to accurately gauge demand and control waste when consumers switch in and out of different food and drink trends so dramatically. This year could be particularly hard if the election is followed by the return of fretting over Brexit. So these swings will be an extra burden to manage.The New Year hangover may still be with us, even if it is an alcohol-free one.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 the editorial board or 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/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Despite a lead for the Tories in the polls, investors and analysts are still worrying about the possibility of a hung parliament after the December election.
British supermarket group Morrisons on Wednesday promoted finance chief Trevor Strain to the role of chief operating officer, putting him in pole position to eventually take over from chief executive David Potts. The promotion is Strain's second in 13 months. Having joined Morrisons, Britain's No. 4 grocer, in 2009, he was appointed chief financial officer in 2013 and assumed the additional responsibilities of group commercial director in October 2018.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- On London’s Oxford Street last weekend, you could almost forget we were in the midst of a retail apocalypse. Christmas lights and a slew of special offers marking an ever earlier start to the imported bargain frenzy, Black Friday, brought out the crowds. Similar holiday cheer and promotions have spread elsewhere in Europe too.But European retailers face a new worry: shoppers deliberately staying away in order to safeguard the planet.Conspicuously skipping consumption is a long-term threat. But when it comes to Black Friday, the more shoppers who shun it the better.For European stores, introducing the crazy U.S. holiday shopping tradition has been an act of self-harm. If protests persuade stores to cut back on this margin-destroying activity, both the planet and profitability would benefit.To recap: Black Friday first reared its ugly head in the U.K. around the start of the decade when local chains responded to Amazon.com Inc.’s unleashing of post-Thanksgiving discounts onto the British public. The trend hit continental Europe later, but French and German have retailers have stepped up their participation over the past few years.As the phenomenon grew, so did resistance, with, for example, International Buy Nothing Day urging us to switch off from shopping. But this year the anti-consumerism movement is gaining traction.In France, where retailers are bracing for a Dec. 5 nationwide strike that may last longer, youth activists are joining with Extinction Rebellion to protest at shopping malls and elsewhere on Friday in an action called BlockFriday. Ecology Minister Elisabeth Borne has weighed in, warning people about the pollution generated by Black Friday between all of the extra delivery runs and packaging. “We can’t at the same time call for a reduction in greenhouse gases and call for a consumer frenzy like that,” she said. There’s even a proposal by lawmakers to ban Black Friday promotions altogether.In Lyon, ethical-clothing specialist WeDressFair will for the second year close its store and website on Friday. Instead, customers can bring in their ripped jeans and shirts with missing buttons to be mended. They will also learn now to make more eco-friendly washing powder.These different initiatives underline the increasing focus on shopping’s impact on the environment.The chief executive officer of Hennes & Mauritz AB, which has been seeking to make its clothing more sustainable since the 1990s, recently warned of the threat of consumer shaming. Associated British Foods Plc’s Primark has been struggling in Germany, in part because some consumers there believe because it’s cheap, it’s got to be bad for the environment. To address the growing concerns about fast fashion, the chain has introduced clothing recycling stations in its stores and increased its use of sustainable cotton.ABF CEO George Weston has also argued that it is greener to shop in physical stores than it is to buy online. That’s significant because Black Friday is still primarily a web-based phenomenon. Determining which is greener is not straightforward. There is some academic evidence to suggest that shopping online is actually more sustainable. But that is not always the case. When a whole range of factors are taken into account, including returns, ultra-fast delivery, subscription programs that encourage repeat purchases, collecting parcels by car and showrooming — where customers travel to stores to evaluate products before ordering — the picture is far less clear cut.Whether it’s for environmental or commercial reasons, any break on the event is welcome. Deloitte estimates that the average discount in the U.K. this November is about 27%, similar to last year, although deals started earlier. Retailers may win some incremental sales, but given the difficult market conditions, that’s not guaranteed. So, unless they are offering products that would have gone into the January sale anyway, or items specially made to be sold cheaply on Black Friday, this level of reduction means they will be sacrificing margin.Some store groups that previously embraced Black Friday have now rowed back, led by Asda, the U.K. arm of Walmart Inc. Wm Morrison Supermarkets Plc is also getting less involved. Others, such as the electronics chains AO World Plc and Dixons Carphone Plc, plan promotions with suppliers months in advance.This year, the effect of Black Friday will be particularly pernicious. Falling after payday and kicking off the main spending weeks in the run up to the holiday, it will be difficult for retailers that offer discounts to return to full price. Add in Brexit uncertainty in the U.K. and the upcoming strikes in France, and it increases the potential for a highly promotional period.More conscious consumers are too late to prevent Black Friday from taking place in 2019. But if they force retailers to come to their senses in future, it won’t just be the environment that wins.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 the editorial board or 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/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Today we'll evaluate Wm Morrison Supermarkets PLC (LON:MRW) to determine whether it could have potential as an...
I think these two FTSE 100 (INDEXFTSE:UKX) stocks could offer a greater chance of improving your financial future than Premium Bonds or the National Lottery.
Asda, the British supermarket arm of the world's biggest retailer Walmart, blamed lower sales in its latest quarter on Brexit uncertainty, saying it had negatively affected consumers' spending patterns. The group, whose attempt to be taken over by rival Sainsbury's for 7.3 billion pounds ($9.3 billion) was blocked by Britain's regulator in April, also said on Thursday its gross profit rate, or margin, and its operating income had both declined in the three months to Sept. 30.
British supermarket group Sainsbury's has struck a deal to sell packaged groceries and household products in Australia as it seeks to grow its wholesale business, it said on Monday. Sainsbury's said it has agreed a wholesale partnership with Australian retailer Coles. The UK firm's biggest wholesale deal yet will see it supply own brand products to Coles supermarkets across Australia, as well as online, from early next year.
Asda on Friday gave shop floor workers more time to sign new employment contracts or face dismissal in a bitter dispute over changes intended by the British supermarket group to boost productivity. As the Saturday deadline for signing approached, Asda said the workers would have a seven-day "cooling off period" to change their minds before losing their jobs. Chief Executive Roger Burnley wrote to staff, saying almost 120,000 employees had signed up to the more flexible contract and fewer than 1,000 had not.
Tesco will next week become the first major British supermarket group to offer a subscription customer loyalty scheme, the latest weapon in its fight to stem the market share gains of German-owned discounters. Along with other leading UK grocers Sainsbury's, Asda (part of Walmart) and Morrisons, Tesco has been losing share to Aldi and Lidl, who have been aggressively opening new stores. The big four have been fighting back with initiatives that aim to differentiate their offers versus the discounters, and Tesco, Britain's biggest retailer, said on Tuesday it would launch an enhanced version of its Clubcard scheme from Nov. 8.
British supermarket group Asda said shop floor workers have just over two weeks to sign-up to new employment contracts, first proposed in April, or face losing their jobs. Of Britain's big four grocers - market leader Tesco , Sainsbury's, Asda and Morrisons -Walmart owned Asda is the last to implement more flexible working contracts as it seeks productivity improvements in a brutally competitive market. Asda's new standardised contracts increase the base rate of pay for over 100,000 retail workers to 9 pounds ($11.58) per hour, plus premiums, while maintaining benefits including an annual bonus, share save scheme and staff discount.
* Q3 retail sales growth slows to 3.1% from Q2 3.6% * Spending rising at weakest pace since Q2 2016 * Department stores report biggest fall in sales since 2009 (Adds reaction) By David Milliken and Jonathan Cable LONDON, Oct 17 (Reuters) - British shoppers grew more cautious about their spending in the three months to September despite rising wages, official figures showed on Thursday, raising concerns about the health of the economy in the run-up to Brexit. Consumer spending has been the biggest driver of British economic growth since June 2016's referendum to leave the European Union, but there have been increasing signs that this is starting to soften. Looking at the third quarter as a whole, which strips out monthly volatility, quarterly sales growth held steady at 0.6% while the annual pace of expansion dropped to 3.1% from 3.6% in the second quarter, the weakest since the late 2018.
German-owned discount supermarket Lidl GB has vowed to spend 15 billion pounds ($19 billion) with British suppliers over the next five years, commiting to increase sales of local meat, poultry and fresh produce. Lidl and rival Aldi have changed the shape of the UK grocery sector, stealing market share from industry leader Tesco, Sainsbury's, Asda and Morrisons by offering cut-throat prices in no-frills stores. To deepen its relations with British suppliers, Lidl, part of the Schwarz retail group, said it would introduce longer-term contracts with suppliers to help them invest and expand.
* Brexit concerns have not translated into purchasing * Quarter of UK consumers considering stockpiling * UK grocery sales up 1.3% in 12 weeks to Oct. 6 * Sainsbury's only one of big four to see growth * Aldi and Lidl's combined market share now 14.1% (Adds detail) LONDON, Oct 15 (Reuters) - British consumers have not yet stockpiled groceries ahead of Brexit though they are considering doing so, market researcher Kantar said on Tuesday. It said a quarter of UK shoppers say they are thinking about stockpiling, but they seem to be waiting to see how the coming weeks play out.
British retailers endured their worst September since at least the mid-1990s as people spent money on entertainment instead, according to surveys that painted a muted picture of household demand ahead of Brexit. In a potential warning sign for consumer spending, which has helped the economy in the run-up to Brexit, the British Retail Consortium said total retail sales values declined 1.3% in September compared with the same month last year. A separate survey published on Monday by payment card company Barclaycard showed broader consumer spending -- which includes retail sales -- rose by a "modest" 1.6% in annual terms in September.
Retailer Next has made a "disappointing" start to autumn trading which it said was down to unusually warm weather in parts of Britain, rather than shoppers holding back on buying new clothes due to uncertainty over Brexit. While it did not give figures, Next said "the warm start to September has done much more to hinder sales than the political temperature" and it has not seen any evidence that shoppers are holding back on small ticket price items due to Britain's planned exit from the European Union next month. UK retailers, including supermarkets Asda and Morrisons and home improvement group Kingfisher, have said uncertainty around Brexit was affecting their customers.