ASBFY - Associated British Foods plc

Other OTC - Other OTC Delayed Price. Currency in USD
34.04
+0.03 (+0.07%)
As of 10:49AM EST. Market open.
Stock chart is not supported by your current browser
Previous Close34.01
Open34.23
Bid0.00 x 0
Ask0.00 x 0
Day's Range34.04 - 34.23
52 Week Range25.49 - 35.49
Volume954
Avg. Volume8,342
Market Cap26.993B
Beta (5Y Monthly)0.44
PE Ratio (TTM)20.20
EPS (TTM)1.68
Earnings DateN/A
Forward Dividend & Yield0.90 (2.58%)
Ex-Dividend DateDec 11, 2019
1y Target Est28.18
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  • AB Foods sales rise, boosted by Primark performance
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  • Horrid Holidays Can't All Be Blamed on Brexit
    Bloomberg

    Horrid Holidays Can't All Be Blamed on Brexit

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- Christmas 2019 should be consigned to the dustbin along with the crumpled wrapping paper and the wilted tree. That’s the message that has come in loud and clear from British retailers. And it caps off a miserable year. Total sales for 2019 fell by 0.1%, the worst year on record, according to the British Retail Consortium and KPMG.There’s no doubt consumers were cautious in the run-up to the holidays. But store groups can’t blame it all on Brexit. There were some own goals, too.Wm Morrison Supermarkets Plc missed the halo effect from Black Friday by reining in promotions right as shoppers sought deals during the U.S-imported retail frenzy. Marks & Spencer Group Plc also hasn’t participated for the past few years. While it’s the right instinct to protect against diluting margins ahead of the holiday season, going too far to do so is painful too.John Lewis Partnership Plc warned that its profit would be “significantly lower” than a year ago, and parted company with the head of its department-store arm, Paula Nickolds. It’s hard not to think the privately held company’s challenges have been made worse by some of its own decisions, such as blindly sticking to its pledge to always be cheaper than rivals. Times have changed since the promise was made many years ago, and it’s become untenable in a market characterized by intense and constant discounting.But perhaps the performance by M&S is the most disappointing. After seeing some positive signs in women’s wear, it made a fashion faux pas in men’s clothing by getting too trendy for many of its customers. Its range of more contemporary, slim fitting shirts and suits weren’t on trend with its predominantly older shopper base, and it simply stocked too many small sizes than was reasonable.The high street stalwart also didn’t have the right Christmas gifts, having gone down market just as consumers were seeking more expensive items, such as cashmere sweaters, and more experiential gifts such as spa days. Consequently, M&S’s like-for-like sales in clothing and home furnishings fell 1.7% in the third quarter, worse than the consensus of analysts’ expectations for a 0.8% decline.The performance is particularly disappointing given that many of M&S’s key competitors, including Debenhams Plc, John Lewis department stores, Mike Ashley’s House of Fraser and Philip Green’s Arcadia, are not firing on all cylinders. And the self-inflicted damage wasn’t confined to clothing. Although demand for M&S’s Christmas food was strong, it wasn’t as pronounced as it had hoped. It misread the market, buying too much festive fare to make sure it had enough available and wound up with far too many leftovers once the holidays came to an end. Consequently, gross margins are expected to be at the lower end of expectations.The shares fell as much as 11.6%. It isn’t the first time M&S has messed up at Christmas. In the past, it suffered from problems at a key distribution center at Castle Donington in central England. This year that facility held up, but the new round of blunders is worrying. In contrast, other groups that have been operating quietly without hiccups, such as Tesco Plc, Greggs Plc and discount home-furnishings retailer Dunelm Group Plc, delivered solid performances. It will also be worth watching out for Associated British Foods Plc, which should have benefited from Primark’s strong selection of gifts and party dresses in the run up to the holiday.With any Boris bounce after the U.K. election proving elusive, 2020 is set to remain tough. The lesson from this Christmas trading season is that to prosper, retailers need to stick to their knitting, and ensure that their own actions don’t make an already difficult backdrop even worse.To contact the author of this story: Andrea Felsted at afelsted@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Melissa Pozsgay at mpozsgay@bloomberg.netThis 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/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Macy's Still Has a Lot of Work to Do
    Bloomberg

    Macy's Still Has a Lot of Work to Do

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- Give Macy’s Inc. a polite clap, and no more, for kicking off the retail holiday reporting season in reasonable style.The department store giant said Wednesday that like-for-like sales from company-owned stores fell 0.7% in November and December, compared with the year earlier period. That’s by no means stellar, but it was much better than its dismal third quarter, when same-store sales sank 3.9% and the company cut its profit forecast, leaving some investors to wonder whether its slew of turnaround efforts would ever be enough to revive an aging, challenged business.Fortunately for Macy’s, it looks like some of its initiatives — particularly revamping its top-performing stores and ramping up its online selection — did attract shoppers over the crucial holiday shopping period. The company said its digital business and the 150 stores that it has updated performed well. Investors reacted enthusiastically at first, sending Macy’s shares up as much 5 percent in early trading Wednesday, before tempering their optimism; the stock gave up most of its gains by mid-morning.That more measured response sounds right. True, the holiday performance was an improvement on the dire third quarter. But same-store sales were still negative. Macy’s must get back to increasing comparable sales and sustain this trend for investors to be convinced that its actions are paying off.There is no let up in the pressures facing department stores, which have been struggling to adapt to changing shopping habits while facing increasing competition from rivals that range from e-commerce giant Amazon Inc. to discount players such as TJX Cos., the corporate parent of TJ Maxx. Even Associated British Foods Plc’s Primark is making headway in the U.S.; its cheap chic is a challenge to mainstream clothing retailers and the off-price sector alike. All this comes as the consumer has remained relatively robust. Any retrenchment would make conditions even more difficult.Much will now rest on Macy’s investor day on Feb. 5. My colleague Sarah Halzack has argued that the strategy to be presented should include more store closures, and Macy’s has delivered this early. It said on Wednesday that it would be closing another 28 of its namesake outlets and one Bloomingdale’s. This builds on the 100 shutterings since 2016, and is the right strategy. But it may still not go far enough. At the end of the third quarter, the group had about 680 department stores under the Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s brands. That makes the strategic blueprint for reviving same-store sales growth even more crucial.Macy’s shares are down more than 40% over the past year, and trade on a forward price earnings ratio of about 7.5 times, a more than 30% discount to the Bloomberg Intelligence North American department store valuation peer group. To narrow the gap, Macy’s must show that its better-than-feared holiday showing isn’t another false dawn.To contact the author of this story: Andrea Felsted at afelsted@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Beth Williams at bewilliams@bloomberg.netThis 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©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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  • Boris Bounce Won’t Save Christmas for British Retailers
    Bloomberg

    Boris Bounce Won’t Save Christmas for British Retailers

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- Brits haven’t felt very much like shopping this year, and understandably so. There’s been political gridlock and upheaval, the repeated threat of a hard Brexit and an election in December for the first time since 1923. No wonder despite strong employment, and wage growth outpacing inflation, U.K. consumers have been acting as if they’re in a recession.As a result, Britain’s army of shoppers have been choosing more classic colors such as black, navy, gray and camel rather than trendy shades at high-street stalwart Marks & Spencer Group Plc. Families have put off buying new fridges and dishwashers until their old appliances broke down. And they’ve turned to discounters Aldi and Lidl when, in spite of it all, they wanted to start preparing for Christmas by filling their shopping carts with panettone and children’s toys. Even with a lift from the Black Friday frenzy, this has all added up to weak non-food sales,  and sluggish demand at the big supermarkets.Against this background, the general election result can only be reassuring: a hard Brexit has likely been shelved and affluent shoppers can breathe a sigh of relief that they won’t face a Labour government led by Jeremy Corbyn. This should all bode well for trading over the coming weeks, the conclusion of the so-called Golden Quarter that captures the run up to the holidays and the merrymaking as well. There is now only one weekend left before Christmas. Last week was likely a slow one in malls and on high streets with the pending election and heavy rain. If the weather is good — cold crisp conditions are best — then shoppers could come out in force for last minute gifts.This upswing may come too late for some store groups. Black Friday sucked spending into November, so that may mean there is less pent-up demand to be released in December. Many consumers bought Christmas gifts when they were on special offer. Unless those deals generated sales that wouldn’t have happened anyway, the mark downs mean margins will have suffered.It’s a different story for supermarkets. Their peak period kicks off around now, and the days immediately before the holiday will be the biggest for food shopping. With Brits feeling slightly less nervous, they may be prepared to buy a nicer bottle of wine, or a pricey free-range turkey — or a vegan Wellington.The recovery in the pound should be helpful too. Retailers selling clothing, toys and electronics buy well over half of the stock they sell from suppliers in Asia, and pay for them in dollars. When sterling weakens, their input costs rise. As stores struggle to pass higher prices  onto consumers, their margins get squeezed. A stronger pound should ease the pressure on profitability.  What’s more, a large amount of capacity is coming out of the market, with the likes of M&S, Debenhams Plc and Philip Green’s Arcadia Group closing stores. Chains that have survived the tumultuous conditions should benefit.But even if shoppers do party like its 1999 — and that’s still debatable — retailers may not escape a New Year hangover.If Prime Minister Boris Johnson forces through his Brexit deal — which now looks increasingly likely — it is only the starting point for Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union, and negotiations for a comprehensive agreement with its largest trading partner.   There’s also the toll that the uncertainty of the past three years has taken on an already fragile British economy. Businesses may have held back from investing, potentially storing up trouble for the future. And despite overall strong employment, there have been job losses. Consumers make the most drastic changes to their purchasing habits when they are made redundant or see their friends losing their jobs.So even a late surge won’t change the winners and losers this Christmas. Discount players such as Aldi and Lidl and Associated British Foods Plc’s Primark are still likely to be standout performers. Next Plc is doubling down on its strong online presence by selling other retailers’ brands, which should pay off. Bricks and mortar clothing retailers and department stores will be under pressure from both Amazon.com Inc. and specialist-fashion brands such as Boohoo Group Plc. Meanwhile, a revival over the next two weeks may not be enough to compensate for lackluster sales so far at Britain’s big supermarkets.The general election result should make this Christmas a little less dismal. But it won’t transform it from turkey into a cracker.To contact the author of this story: Andrea Felsted at afelsted@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Melissa Pozsgay at mpozsgay@bloomberg.netThis 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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