|Bid||101.35 x 0|
|Ask||101.40 x 0|
|Day's Range||97.04 - 103.35|
|52 Week Range||73.90 - 275.61|
|Beta (5Y Monthly)||1.22|
|PE Ratio (TTM)||20.02|
|Earnings Date||May 20, 2020|
|Forward Dividend & Yield||0.11 (11.08%)|
|Ex-Dividend Date||Nov 14, 2019|
|1y Target Est||294.84|
French supermarket retailer Carrefour and Uber Eats announced a new delivery service on Wednesday, aimed at helping Parisians buy essential goods and food during the nationwide lockdown triggered by the coronavirus crisis. The service, which will start on April 6, will allow users to choose a Carrefour convenience store on the Uber Eats app or website, or dial by phone from 11am to 11pm to order the products of their choice, including everyday grocery shopping as well as hygiene and cleaning products. Customers will also be able to get deliveries at home within 30 minutes on average by a delivery person using the Uber Eats application and complying with health and safety guidelines laid out by the French government.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- As fashion retailers shutter their storefronts across Europe and North America due to the coronavirus, some of the world's most vulnerable workers are feeling the pain — and getting shafted.In Bangladesh, garment factories have already furloughed more than 1 million workers thanks to at least $3 billion in canceled and postponed orders. Elsewhere in Southeast Asia, a key hub for apparel production, the toll is multiplying as quickly as the virus is spreading. If left unaddressed, the crisis could endanger the lives and livelihoods of millions more of the region’s workers.For decades, the apparel industry has had something of a devil’s bargain in Southeast Asia. Western companies have accepted the reputational risk that comes with capitalizing on the region’s low-wage labor, while local governments have tolerated poor factory conditions in return for jobs and growth. In some respects, the benefits have been undeniable: Last year, Bangladesh's apparel industry generated $35 billion in revenue, accounting for 80% of all export earnings, and employed 4.4 million people.In 2013, however, the human costs of this bargain became plain when Rana Plaza, a complex of garment factories near Dhaka, collapsed and killed at least 1,132 workers. The retailers and brands that had outsourced their production to the region looked for ways to prevent a recurrence while ensuring that outsourcing — and Bangladesh's most important export — could be sustained.The next year, they hit on a solution: independent monitoring and inspection organizations, empowered for five-year terms, with buy-in from government and local businesses. Over the next few years, these watchdogs inspected thousands of factories, shut down those that were in violation of safety standards, and pushed often expensive improvements — everything from installing fire alarms to improving building foundations — on others.Even under ideal conditions, however, this solution was only provisional. Earlier this month, the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee released a report documenting backsliding on labor rights in Bangladesh and elsewhere. But the disruption caused by the new coronavirus could prove to be a tipping point.So far, it’s come in two waves.The first started in February. China supplies the overwhelming majority of raw materials for Southeast Asia's garment makers (60% in the case of Vietnam). As Chinese textile producers shuttered, manufacturers in neighboring countries seized up. In Cambodia, the government recently predicted that 200 garment factories, employing 160,000 workers, could soon face raw-material shortages. Already, 10,000 Cambodian workers have been laid off, and some factory owners are reportedly taking advantage of the crisis to push out unionized employees. Safety standards will likely follow them out the factory doors.The second wave of trouble is just starting. In recent weeks, companies including Irish retailer Primark Ltd., Britain's Marks & Spencer Group Plc and Minneapolis-based Target Corp. have canceled, postponed or declared force majeure on orders for which their Southeast Asian partners have already purchased raw materials, and in some cases even completed work.The situation is so serious that Cambodia and India have made direct appeals to global brands to avoid cancellations and work out payment plans. Few are responding. According to a survey of Bangladesh’s garment factories conducted in March, nearly half had lost "a big share" of their orders. Nearly all buyers, most of whom are located in Europe, have refused to contribute to wages for furloughed workers.In the short term, such steps might help apparel companies weather a downturn. But the last decade should’ve taught them that — at least in the eyes of their customers — they have a deeper responsibility to the workers who manufacture their merchandise. A 2018 survey of consumers in seven countries found that nearly three-quarters of them believed that clothing companies should be held responsible for what happens in their factories and should transparently disclose working conditions. The danger is that the coronavirus gives factory owners and governments an excuse to roll back expensive safety programs and ignore hard-earned progress on wages and working conditions.There’s no easy fix when pain is being shared across an industry — not to mention across the world. But all parties would benefit if retailers and brands committed to a shared responsibility for paying garment workers for completed work, and contributed to a reasonable severance during the inevitable virus-driven slump. On Monday, Swedish fast-fashion giant H&M announced it would take delivery of goods (including those in production), and pay for them. Other brands should follow suit. Doing so will help long-time manufacturing partners who've improved safety standards and workers’ rights to stay in business through the pandemic.Meanwhile, rich-country governments keen to support labor rights in Southeast Asia should maintain preferential trading policies with the goal of supporting the region's workers through a devastating downturn. That should help some of the world's most vulnerable get through the next few months, while ensuring that years of progress made by the global apparel industry isn't left in tatters.This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Adam Minter is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He is the author of “Junkyard Planet: Travels in the Billion-Dollar Trash Trade” and the forthcoming "Secondhand: Travels in the New Global Garage Sale."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) -- Britain’s lockdown in the face of the coronavirus has dented the prestige of one of the country’s most recognizable retailing brands.Standard & Poor’s Global Ratings cut Marks & Spencer Group Plc’s credit score to junk on Thursday, raising the possibility a major cultural icon will pay higher interest to lenders less sure they’ll get their money back.S&P said it expects the coronavirus to result in materially lower sales for the firm’s core clothing and home divisions, only partially mitigated by online and food sales. It also warned it could reduce the rating further if the U.K. lockdown continues into the second half of 2020.As of Sep. 28, the group’s net debt including lease liabilities was 4.13 billion pounds ($4.96 billion), and 1.59 billion pounds if those liabilities are excluded. The company has total available liquidity of 1.34 billion pounds including a 1.1 billion pound revolving credit facility that is undrawn, according to a statement from Mar. 20.M&S issued a profit warning earlier this month as the coronavirus started to tighten its grip on Europe. Britain’s retail industry was already on the ropes before the pandemic hit, losing market share to online sellers.The company’s 250 million pounds ($299 million) of bonds maturing due 2027 are currently quoted more than 10% below their face value having traded at par as recently as Mar. 9.So far this year 11 firms globally have lost their investment grade credit ratings, putting them in a category of so-called fallen angels, according to S&P.(Updates with net debt and liquidity position in 4th paragraph.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- This should have been Ocado Plc’s crisis.The online-only grocer should have been capitalizing on shoppers avoiding crowded stores. Instead, last week it temporarily closed its website, potentially upsetting its customers. Still, investors clearly believe that it will emerge as one of the winners from the rush to buy toilet paper and tinned soup. As of Friday, Ocado’s shares were up for the year.But the pandemic has exposed some of the flaws in the group’s business model, which relies heavily on large, state-of-the-art robotic warehouses. Others, such as Walmart, take a more low-tech approach, fulfilling grocery orders from stores, where employees pluck packs of sausages and cereals from shelves for delivery to home or collection from supermarkets. When demand surges, it is much quicker and easier to ramp up the rate of grocery orders from stores compared to warehouses. As long as there are enough loaves of bread and toilet roll, more employees can simply put them into crates to be delivered to homes. In contrast, building and stocking automated warehouse is time-consuming and expensive. That makes Ocado’s business model less flexible.The debate about which approach is best is about to cross the Atlantic. In 2018, Ocado struck a deal to run the online grocery operations of Kroger Co, the U.S.’s second biggest grocer after Walmart. The two U.S. food retail giants will be taking diametrically opposite routes to meeting online demand, which was expected to grow anyway even without the pandemic. We’ll have to see which ultimately wins out, although right now, the ability to quickly scale up and exploit stores looks to have a lot of advantages. Ocado Retail, which is now a joint venture with British high street stalwart Marks & Spencer Group Plc, said last Thursday that so far, sales growth in its second quarter was running at twice the rate of the 10% expansion in the first three months of the year. But sales could have been up 50-100% — if Ocado had enough room or robots to pack more orders.Part of this is bad luck. Just over a year ago, the company suffered a catastrophic fire at its cutting edge facility in Andover, shutting down a space that would have been able to fulfill 60,000 orders a week. It has since clawed back some extra capacity at another facility that was being used by Wm Morrison Supermarkets Plc, its first online partner. But it hasn’t been able to make up all that was lost.In contrast, Morrison, which sells through its own website and Amazon, is roughly doubling the number of stores that fulfill online orders to about 100. This isn’t all bad for Ocado, as Morrison’s own website will still use its technology to pick orders. But it does underline the greater flexibility of the old-fashioned approach.Brick-and-mortar grocers have another advantage too: They can be used as pick-up points for customers. In the U.K. this is known as “click and collect”; elsewhere, it's curbside or same-day pick-up. This is a strategy that Walmart has embraced successfully, as it already offers pick-up from 3,200 stores and will add another 500 locations this year. But Ocado is committed to its automated warehouse model, as it believes this delivers the best returns — even though the group has only made a pre-tax profit in a handful of years. The group does also have more traditional warehouse space due to open in the next year or so. And it has other alternatives that it should draw on. For example, it is building a facility in Bristol, which is about half the size of a normal warehouse and takes half the time to construct, around a year. Putting more emphasis on smaller hubs like this, and seeing whether they can be shrunk further, would be wise. This would enable facilities to be built more quickly, making the model more nimble. Another thing the online grocer should think about: It doesn’t have a facility for click and collect right now either. It should explore ways of adding this. From its partnership with Marks & Spencer, Ocado now theoretically has access to a large store estate. Even when this pandemic passes, it will leave a long-lasting impact on the way we purchase. Ocado should learn its lessons now, and adapt its business model accordingly, so it doesn’t have to shut up shop next time there is a crisis.This 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.
British retailer Marks & Spencer warned on Friday trading over the next 9-12 months in its clothing, homewares and international businesses was likely to be "severely impacted" by the coronavirus pandemic. "M&S has served customers without cease through two world wars, terrorist bombings and numerous local disasters and we are determined to support our customers now as we always do," the 136-year-old group said. Shares in M&S were down 5.3% at 0829 GMT, taking losses for 2020 so far to 49%.
(Bloomberg) -- European stocks struggled to find a floor to the current market sell-off as losses resumed on virus worries after Tuesday’s brief respite.The Stoxx Europe 600 Index was down 3.9% at the close of trading, pacing losses in the U.S. and Asia. Banks trimmed some declines in the afternoon as euro-area officials were said to be looking at activating the region’s bailout fund, a crucial step toward triggering the European Central Bank’s most powerful bond-buying powers.Oil-and-gas shares led the broad retreat across European sectors, down 9.8% after crude prices slumped to an almost 18-year low as Saudi Arabia ramped up a price war.Stocks in Europe, where the number of coronavirus cases has now surpassed those of China, have plummeted since last month’s peak as concern about the outbreak’s impact on growth and earnings has mostly overshadowed monetary and government easing measures.“Familiar hedging strategies to mitigate risks have become ineffective,” said Ostrum Asset Management strategist Axel Botte. Market liquidity in credit is extremely limited, especially if one wants to sell, he added.Despite the day’s losses, the Stoxx 600 remained above an intraday low hit on Monday. Strategists at Barclays Plc advised that investors stay put as fear reigns about the pandemic’s spread, while uncertainty is “likely near peak levels.”“There is no circuit breaker to kill extreme volatility,” strategists led by Emmanuel Cau wrote in a note. “Uncertainty is likely near peak levels, technicals are deeply oversold and bear market rallies could be sharp. We advise staying put for now.”Among European sectors, travel and leisure shares have been hit hardest in the sell-off. The sector slid a further 7.4% on Wednesday.Retailers retreated the least, with U.K. supermarkets including Marks & Spencer Group Plc, J Sainsbury Plc and Colruyt SA among the top gainers. That was even as the pound slipped to its lowest level against the dollar in over three decades amid coronavirus worries.(A previous version of this story was corrected to say crude prices slumped to an almost 18-year low)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
British environment minister George Eustice said on Friday he had been reassured by supermarkets that they had contingency plans in place to prevent food shortages linked to coronavirus. "The retailers reassured me they have well-established contingency plans and are taking all the necessary steps to ensure consumers have the food and supplies they need," Eustice said in a statement following a meeting with representatives from the food industry.
The following are the top stories on the business pages of British newspapers. - U.S. private equity firm KKR & Co Inc has ruled itself out of a bid for NMC Health Plc after the troubled private hospitals group said that it had been approached. - Link Real Estate Investment Trust, which has extensive property investments including shopping centres in China, abandoned talks to support Intu Properties Plc's planned equity raise at the end of this month.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Ocado Group Plc, the British online grocer that’s morphed into a technology company, has always been a jam tomorrow stock. Now it’s asking shareholders to wait not just for the jam but the full afternoon tea.The specialist in automating how supermarket orders are filled on Tuesday announced that its 2019 pre-tax loss jumped to 214.5 million pounds ($277 million), from a loss of 44.4 million pounds a year earlier. Part of this was due to a damaging fire at its Andover warehouse almost exactly a year ago, which was unfortunate but Ocado has coped well with the disruption.What’s more worrying for investors is the impact of investment in its burgeoning international division, which has been striking deals to operate the online grocery businesses of chains from the U.S. to France and Japan. While that’s a credit to Chief Executive Officer Tim Steiner, who has been knocking on retailers’ doors for the the past five years, it means Ocado has an awful lot to do — and pay for. Ocado’s international technology arm could be more lucrative in the future, but for now, it’s a drain on capital. Consequently, Ocado said expenditure would more than double this year to 600 million pounds. Take away the impact of the warehouse fire, and that leaves a balance of just over 500 million pounds for building state-of-the-art warehouses that are fully equipped to pack grocery orders with limited need for humans.The majority of this will be spent on getting its automated warehouses up and running for international customers, including Casino Guichard Perrachon SA in France, Canada’s Sobeys Inc. and the U.S. chain operator Kroger Co. Some of the expenditure will be offset by expected fees from its international clients of more than 100 million pounds, but most of it is a down payment on future income once the systems are fully up and running. That doesn’t leave much scope for any unexpected hiccups in the meantime.Until those warehouses are open, Ocado cannot recognize the international revenue, but it must incur the costs. That showed in its 2019 results. Ocado invoiced fees of 81.4 million pounds to its international partners, an increase of almost 40%. But revenue from this arm was less than 1 million pounds, while it made a loss before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization of 62.1 million pounds. For this year, Ocado forecasts international revenue of less than 10 million pounds. Warehouses for Casino and Sobeys will be open for only part of the period. In the meantime, Ocado must continue its heavy spending. It had 751 million pounds in the bank at the year end, thanks to its deal to sell half of its U.K. retail business to Marks & Spencer Group Plc. It also raised 600 million pounds through a convertible bond issue after the year end. The company says this gives it plenty of headroom. But with such an investment burden over the next few years — it has also signed a deal with Aeon Co. in Japan — further calls on shareholders can’t be ruled out.And let’s not forget challenges closer to home. In September, M&S will replace Waitrose as Ocado’s supplier for its U.K. online supermarket, a massive changeover with huge execution risk.For now, investors appear confident that once the different warehouses are operational the fees will start to flow into profit and cash flow. The shares have risen by a third in the past year. Ocado’s enterprise value is currently just over 4 times forward sales, even ahead of Amazon.com Inc., on just over 3 times.This looks divorced from the reality of both Ocado’s spending needs, and the long haul to generate a return on its investment.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 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.
Marks & Spencer on Tuesday appointed Eoin Tonge, currently the chief financial officer of Irish food group Greencore , as its new finance chief, filling a void left by the departure of Humphrey Singer at the end of last year. Tonge joins at a difficult time for M&S, whose shares have fallen 35% over the last year. After more than a decade of failed re-inventions, the 136-year old clothing and food retailer set out on its latest transformation plan shortly after retail veteran Archie Norman became chairman in 2017 to work alongside Chief Executive Steve Rowe, who has been with the firm for 30 years and became the boss in 2016.
The following are the top stories on the business pages of British newspapers. The Financial Reporting Council has outlined measures to increase scrutiny of audit firms and corporate reporting, speed up enforcement and streamline its own governance structure in its draft budget for 2020. The heating and plumbing group Ferguson Plc is heading for a clash with its British shareholders after revealing plans for a possible listing in the United States that could result in it abandoning the FTSE 100.
Does the January share price for Marks and Spencer Group plc (LON:MKS) reflect what it's really worth? Today, we will...
U.K. retail sales disappointed again in December dropping 0.6%, adding further force to arguments for an interest rate cut from the Bank of England at the end of the month.