|Bid||195.80 x 0|
|Ask||195.90 x 0|
|Day's range||195.80 - 202.90|
|52-week range||176.90 - 246.45|
|Beta (5Y Monthly)||0.36|
|PE ratio (TTM)||15.30|
|Earnings date||12 Sep 2019|
|Forward dividend & yield||0.07 (3.44%)|
|1y target est||251.79|
Stocks most exposed to the British economy slipped on Wednesday on growing expectations of a close election outcome, while JD Sports dropped 10% after its top investor cut its stake. The exporter-heavy FTSE 100 ended flat as gains due to a weakening of the pound were offset by steep losses in oil firms after a surprise build-up of U.S. crude inventories.
* Asia shares fall slightly as trade deadline looms Welcome to the home for real-time coverage of European equity markets brought to you by Reuters stocks reporters and anchored today by Danilo Masoni. With bookies giving a 75% chance of a Tory majority emerging from Thursday's election you would expect shares in British supermarkets to be looking a bit more forthcoming at the moment. "In the event of a Conservative majority government, we would expect sterling to rally", Colm Harney, a UK equity analyst at Sarasin & Partners says, adding that "as a result, large-cap UK domestically-focused names (like Tesco!) would benefit".
Britain's mid-cap index tumbled on Tuesday after lacklustre domestic growth data, while the FTSE 100 came off its earlier lows on a report that planned U.S. tariffs on China could be delayed. The bluechip index had slid as much as 1.3%, weighed down by a more than 6% drop in Ashtead after the industrial firm warned of challenging conditions in the UK.
* Sales growth slows to 0.5% in 12 weeks to Dec. 1 - Kantar * Big four supermarkets all see sales declines * Discounters gain market share * Shares in Tesco, Sainsbury's and Morrisons fall (Adds detail) LONDON, Dec 10 (Reuters) - Sales growth at Britain's supermarkets slowed in the last quarter, industry data showed on Tuesday, as shoppers delayed their Christmas preparations ahead of a national election on Dec. 12. Market researcher Kantar said all of Britain's big four supermarket groups - market leader Tesco, Sainsbury's , Asda and Morrisons - recorded sales declines over the period and lost market share to the German-owned discounters Aldi and Lidl which are aggressively opening new stores.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Selling Tesco Plc’s operations in Thailand and Malaysia for about 7 billion pounds ($9.2 billion) would be a nice parting present from outgoing Chief Executive Officer Dave Lewis to his successor Ken Murphy. But there could be a sting in the tail from such a lavish gift. Tesco would be even more focused on its home turf in the U.K., where it’s in a merciless battle with discounters from Germany.Tesco said on Sunday that it was carrying out a strategic review of the business, after receiving interest from potential buyers. Britain’s biggest supermarket is right to consider whether its remaining Asian operations might be worth more to a rival. Analysts at Bernstein estimate the Thai and Malay businesses could fetch between 6.5 billion pounds and 7.2 billion pounds. What’s more, with Bernstein estimating of typical transaction multiples in the region of about 13 times Ebitda, and Tesco currently trading on an enterprise value to Ebitda multiple of 7.6 times, then this unit isn’t being adequately reflected in Tesco’s valuation.The Asian business is a highly profitable one, with an underlying operating margin of 5.87% in the year to February 2019, close to twice that at both Tesco’s U.K. and central European divisions. Selling this arm would be a further retrenchment from Tesco’s international assault of the 1990s, and leave the company focused on its core retail operations in the U.K. as well as its bank in its home market. Its only overseas outpost would be central Europe, a business it would most likely love to sell if a buyer could be found.Tesco doesn’t need to offload assets to strengthen its balance sheet, in contrast to when it parted company with its South Korean business in 2015. It has been bringing down debt, enabling it to raise its dividend and generating hopes that it may soon begin returning cash to shareholders. A chunky price for the Thai and Malay units would make this even more likely. Indeed, the shares rose about 5% on Monday as investors salivated over a sizable buy-back or special dividend.It would also provide Murphy with a war chest to slash prices. He joins Tesco from Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc., where he spearheaded an expansion in China. However he has no direct experience of the cutthroat U.K. grocery sector. Pricing is one area where Lewis could have done more. Although he made Tesco more competitive with its suite of cheaper exclusive brands, he could have tackled the problem earlier in his tenure.With the disposal proceeds, Murphy would be able to move quickly. He needs to. The U.K. arms of the German discounters Aldi and Lidl continue to go from strength to strength, improving their premium offerings and moving into high-margin areas for the mainstream supermarkets, such as vegan food. Being able to more effectively fight the no-frills supermarkets would be helpful to the new CEO.He would also be able to put pressure on traditional supermarket rivals, such as as J Sainsbury Plc, Wm Morrison Supermarkets Plc and Walmart Inc.’s Asda, at a time when the grocery market is sluggish. Meanwhile, some of the proceeds could be used to beef up other areas of Tesco, such as its online operations and its cash and carry arm Booker.But prices on the shelves of its domestic supermarkets are the key driver of the retailer’s fortunes. And with an attractive Thai and Malay deal, it might just be able to get them right.To contact the author of this story: Andrea Felsted at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Melissa Pozsgay at email@example.comThis 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.
Tesco has started a review of its Malaysian and Thai businesses after receiving an unsolicited approach about a possible sale.
Banks like Lloyds and utility stocks such as Pennon are among the stocks most at the whim of the election results, according to analysts and investors.
(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 firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Melissa Pozsgay at email@example.comThis 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 firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Melissa Pozsgay at email@example.comThis 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.
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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.