|Bid||241.30 x 0|
|Ask||241.40 x 0|
|Day's Range||241.10 - 246.30|
|52 Week Range||210.70 - 293.40|
|Beta (5Y Monthly)||0.46|
|PE Ratio (TTM)||18.05|
|Earnings Date||Apr 08, 2020|
|Forward Dividend & Yield||0.07 (2.72%)|
|Ex-Dividend Date||Oct 10, 2019|
|1y Target Est||269.93|
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Almost a year since competition authorities dealt a mortal blow to J Sainsbury Plc’s $9.1 billion plan to buy Walmart Inc.’s Asda, Mike Coupe is stepping down as chief executive officer of Britain’s second-largest supermarket chain. He’s been at the helm for almost six years and will be 60 in September, so it’s a natural time to hang up his grocer’s apron.But Coupe’s departure looked inevitable once the Asda combination collapsed. Whether or not Sainsbury mishandled the competition risks, for any CEO, grinding out growth in a sluggish market is far less exciting than pulling off an audacious deal.The choice of Simon Roberts, currently retail and operations director, to succeed him is a surprising one given that his most recent experience before Sainsbury wasn’t in food retail, and he’s a relatively new arrival at the group. Sainsbury’s former finance director, John Rogers, was widely seen as Coupe’s heir apparent, until he left for advertising company WPP Plc in October. This may explain his departure. Roberts, 48, is a hands-on shopkeeper. He spent 15 years at Marks & Spencer Group Plc and 13 years at Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. before joining Sainsbury two and half years ago. But the changes that Sainsbury has made to its stores since then haven’t always gone smoothly. A management overhaul in 2018 led to empty shelves and unkempt shops. In a fast-changing retail market, executives need to augment operational expertise with strategic vision. It’s not yet clear that Roberts has that.It’s interesting that Britain’s two biggest supermarkets, Tesco Plc and Sainsbury, will be led by executives who spent many years at pharmacy retailer Boots. Perhaps it’s replacing Asda as the training ground for top executives. It may be that working for Walgreens CEO Stefano Pessina, who’s known for not suffering fools gladly, is the perfect preparation for taking on difficult challenges — even the brutal U.K. supermarket business.Roberts will need all of the skills he honed under the Italian dealmaker to keep Sainsbury on track. First of all, he must continue to battle the company’s other major rivals which make up the U.K.’s Big Four grocers — Tesco, Asda and Wm Morrison Supermarkets Plc. And he must defend Sainsbury from the U.K. arms of the German discounters, Aldi and Lidl, which are increasingly forging into Sainsbury’s heartland in the south eastern U.K. Coupe did a good job cutting Sainsbury’s prices on everyday items. Roberts must continue this. For a while in 2018 and early 2019, after the damaging store-management overhaul, sales growth slipped behind that of rivals. Sainsbury was beginning to look like the sick grocer from which everyone else was seeking to steal market share. Its sales have recovered since, but Roberts must maintain that momentum.Secondly, Sainsbury must get Argos, the catalog retailer that Coupe acquired four years ago, back on track. The business, which sells everything from toys to tents, had a poor Christmas. In order to defend itself from the mighty Amazon.com Inc., it must better exploit its combination of online presence and bricks-and-mortar stores, as well as ensure its prices are right. On Tuesday, Sainsbury announced it would further integrate Argos into Sainsbury, axing hundreds of management jobs and cutting costs as it merges divisions including commercial retail and finance. This program must be managed without disruption.If all of this doesn’t go to plan, there is always the risk that Sainsbury, perennially tipped as a takeover target, could finally attract the attentions of a bidder. No one can fault Coupe for his bold decisions. In an environment where just keeping your head above water is hard enough, he was prepared to make daring moves. Unfortunately, they didn’t always pay off.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.
Antoine Dréan, chairman of private-equity advisory Triago, has published his 10 ‘outrageous’ predictions for 2020.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Bangkok’s billionaires don’t usually have to contend with much resistance as they expand. Tesco Plc’s sale of its Southeast Asian supermarkets may be about to change that.The $32 billion British retailer said in December it was considering selling the group’s stores in Thailand and Malaysia, becoming the latest international grocery giant to bow out of Asia. First-round bids for the asset, estimated to be worth between $7 billion and $9 billion, are due this week. Suitors are likely to be drawn from local conglomerates, among them: Dhanin Chearavanont’s CP Group; Central Group, controlled by the Chirathivat family; and beer-and-spirits magnate Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi's TCC Group.So far, so normal for tycoon-heavy Thailand. Perhaps not. Last month, the Office of Trade Competition Commission, or OTCC, threw a wrench in the gears, signaling before offers even materialized that it would review the deal and could rule against any combination that grabbed too much of the market.Thailand’s government has revamped the antitrust authority since 2017, turning it from a dormant and toothless appendage of the Ministry of Commerce into an impartial agency with an independent workforce. Taking a tough stance could burnish the pro-military administration’s consumer-protection credentials, as it battles a slowing economy and the country’s worst drought in decades.Added to that, this is the the first high-profile, consumer-facing case that the new-look OTCC has handled. It’s also, potentially, one of the largest-ever acquisitions by a Thai group, and among the largest deals in Asia this year. That all but sets up a tussle with some of the most powerful patriarchs in Thai business.In theory, problems arise when a company has a market share of 50% or more. The trouble here, as in every antitrust debate, is deciding what counts as a market.Tesco, under the Tesco Lotus brand, is already Thailand’s biggest supermarket chain with almost 2,000 stores, plus 74 in Malaysia. So, do convenience stores, like CP’s 7-Eleven outlets, count as part of the same market? By the broadest definition, CP touches the vast majority of Thailand’s food chain. What about duty-free, should a last-minute bid come from King Power Group, run by the billionaire Srivaddhanaprabha family that owns Leicester City Football Club? Central Group, meanwhile, has 200 supermarkets, and TCC owns Big C hypermarkets.All of that suggests plenty of wrangling ahead. Worse, Thailand now has a two-stage reporting structure: Unusually by global standards, would-be merger partners may have to report both ahead of and on completion of any deal that creates a dominant player. That means passing the first hurdle doesn’t guarantee a bidder will clear the second.In the end, asset sales may be the most palatable solution, should a big retailer win the contest. Antitrust bosses, still early in their tenure, may be reluctant to irk too many big names. Chinese regulators ruffled plenty of feathers when the Beijing-based Ministry of Commerce vetoed Coca-Cola Co.’s acquisition of a Chinese juice maker in 2009. And Thailand, with its unimpressive economy, badly needs investment.Still, supermarkets are a sensitive and unpredictable area for antitrust authorities, with their focus on safeguarding consumers. Britain’s Competition and Markets Authority, after all, last year stopped J Sainsbury Plc from buying Walmart Inc.’s Asda to create the country’s largest supermarket chain. This could turn into quite a food fight. To contact the author of this story: Clara Ferreira Marques at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Matthew Brooker at email@example.comThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Clara Ferreira Marques is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering commodities and environmental, social and governance issues. Previously, she was an associate editor for Reuters Breakingviews, and editor and correspondent for Reuters in Singapore, India, the U.K., Italy and Russia.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 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 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/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
A Christmas crunch inflicted more pain on British retailers on Thursday, as changing habits and belt-tightening exposed the industry's struggle to eke out growth and its slim margin for error. One of Britain's best known chain stores John Lewis warned it was one of the "most severe" markets in a generation, Marks & Spencer's described conditions in clothing and homeware as "challenging" while Britain's biggest retailer Tesco said the market was subdued. Adding to the downbeat outlook, Tesco said Prime Minister Boris Johnson's resounding election victory in December, which broke the deadlock over Brexit and lifted financial market sentiment, had not unleashed any pent-up demand.
Tesco, Britain's biggest supermarket group, rode out a "subdued" Christmas to lift UK sales by 0.1%, enough to beat its main rivals amid the toughest high street conditions in years. Chief Executive Dave Lewis said Tesco's UK stores delivered the best operational performance of his five-year tenure. Tesco sold more food on Dec. 23 than on any other day in its 100-year-old history, Lewis said, with 890,000 customers served in a single peak hour of trading.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Flashback to mid-December. British voters had just delivered a decisive national election victory to Boris Johnson’s Conservatives with two full weekends left before Christmas. Expectations were high that shoppers, giddy at the prospect of an end to political gridlock and repetitive threats of hard Brexit, would rush to the stores to make up for lost time in their holiday preparations and provide a much-needed boost for the country’s big supermarket chains.Anyone in the industry expecting a Boris bounce was sorely disappointed. Numbers out Tuesday show the U.K.’s largest food retailers suffered from subdued trading over the crucial Christmas and New Year’s period.Wm Morrison Supermarkets Plc said consumers remained cautious, even if there was a bit of relief following the election result. Still, it wasn’t enough to make up for belt tightening. Although customers put the same amount of Christmas fare in their baskets, the number of times they shopped was marginally down, it said.It didn’t help that a price war broke out in the run up to the holidays, with the U.K. arms of the German discount chains Lidl and Aldi slashing prices. They drew shoppers with offers, such as bags of Christmas vegetables from as little as 15 pence. Morrison was offering three British vegetables for one pound, including a 2.5 kg bag of Maris Piper potatoes, described by Chief Executive Officer David Potts as a knock-out offer. But with intense competition from the discounters, perhaps it just wasn’t knock out enough. Where consumers treated themselves, it seems they opted for Aldi’s Specially Selected mince pies.Moderating food price inflation was also a hindrance. Morrison estimated that over the past couple of months food-price inflation was close to zero. When food prices are rising, the value of supermarkets’ sales is automatically boosted.Morrison may turn out to be one of the weakest performers. But trading across the whole of the U.K. food retail market was lackluster, according to industry research group Kantar. 2019 saw the lowest rate of growth over the Christmas period since 2015, it said.What oxygen there is in the market is feeding the discount supermarkets. Excluding online-only supermarket Ocado Group Plc, Lidl was the strongest performer in the 12 weeks to Dec. 29, with sales up by 10.3%, according to Kantar. Aldi also expanded its sales by 5.9%, a slower rate of growth than in the past, but still way ahead of the so-called big four supermarkets, Tesco, J Sainsbury Plc, Walmart Inc.’s U.K. arm Asda and Morrison.Sainsbury, which reports on Wednesday, may be more upbeat than Morrison, as its stronghold is in the southeast, where there is less competition from the discounters, and it tends to outperform at Christmas. Tesco may also do better, as it has been one of the stronger performers over the past few months, and that may continue.But it provides little comfort that all of the big four saw their sales fall in the 12 weeks to Dec. 29, compared with the year earlier, according to Kantar.With U.K. wage growth still ahead of inflation, and consumer confidence showing some improvement, Johnson’s resounding victory and the certainty it appeared to provide around Britain’s departure from the European Union was supposed to boost holiday shopping. Coming in mid-December, it probably came too late to make a noticeable impact on spending on clothing and gifts, but it should have had a positive impact on supermarket shopping. That clearly didn’t happen, and that is a worrying sign for grocers as they move into what is traditionally a lean time after the holidays. This year it could be even more painful, as many consumers move out of categories such as alcohol and meat, as trends like Dry January and Veganuary gain pace.As for Morrison, the company needs to be on its guard. When food prices are rising, all of the big four supermarkets can prosper at the same time. When there is little growth, grocers need to steal sales from a weaker rival. This time last year, that was looking like Sainsbury. Now Morrison looks vulnerable. It has a strong management team, robust balance sheet, more than 85% freehold property and a developing wholesale business. Even so, it needs to get its sales growth back on track, to make make sure it does not become 2020’s Christmas feast.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©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- The Thailand and Malaysian operations of Britain’s largest supermarket chain Tesco Plc. are on the shopping lists of Thai tycoons.Thai billionaire Dhanin Chearavanont’s Charoen Pokphand Group and Central Group, controlled by Chirathivat family, are among companies that are weighing bids for the Southeast Asian business that could fetch more than $7 billion, according to people with knowledge of the matter.CP Group and Central Group are holding discussions with financial advisers preparing for separate bids, said the people, who asked not to be identified as the information is private. TCC Group, controlled by Thai billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi, has also expressed interest, the people said.Tesco said in December that it is carrying out a strategic review of its Thai and Malaysian businesses after receiving interest. A sale of the Asian operations would allow the supermarket chain to get an infusion of cash to continue a restructuring of its core U.K. business that has cut thousands of jobs.Tesco is expected to call for initial bids for the businesses as soon as next month, the people said. Companies might decide against making any offer as deliberations continue, the people added.A representative for Tesco said the company has no comment beyond its Dec. 8 statement. A spokesman at CP Group said the company has no information to share at the moment, while a representative for Central Group declined to comment. TCC Group isn’t immediately available for comment.Tesco has more than 2,000 hypermarkets and convenience stores in Thailand under the “Tesco Lotus” brand. The chain was founded by CP Group in 1994 and later taken over by the British firm, according to its company website. In Malaysia, Tesco has over 70 shops, according to its annual report. Malaysian conglomerate Sime Darby Bhd owns a 30% stake in Tesco Malaysia.Berli Jucker Pcl, controlled by TCC, bought a controlling stake in Casino Guichard-Perrachon SA’s Thailand supermarket chain Big C Supercenter Pcl for 3.1 billion euros ($3.45 billion) in 2016. Big C is the country’s second-largest supermarket chain behind Tesco Lotus.\--With assistance from Natnicha Chuwiruch, Anuchit Nguyen and Corinne Gretler.To contact the reporters on this story: Vinicy Chan in Hong Kong at firstname.lastname@example.org;Manuel Baigorri in Hong Kong at email@example.com;Elffie Chew in Kuala Lumpur at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Fion Li at email@example.com, Philip GlamannFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
The letter was found by a 6-year-old girl Florence Widdicombe, whose father then contacted Humphrey on LinkedIn, The Times reported. According to one of the ex-prisoners contacted by Humphrey, the inmates have been packing Christmas cards and gift tags for Tesco for more than two years.
British supermarket giant Tesco suspended a Chinese supplier of Christmas cards on Sunday after a press report said a customer found a message written inside a card saying it had been packed by foreign prisoners who were victims of forced labour. "We abhor the use of prison labour and would never allow it in our supply chain," a Tesco spokesman said on Sunday. Tesco, Britain's biggest retailer, donates 300,000 pounds ($390,000) a year from the sale of the cards to the charities British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK and Diabetes UK.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- It’s the worst nightmare of supermarkets and food delivery firms alike: Amazon.com Inc. turbocharging its grocery business with a network of couriers who can have grub on your doorstep within an hour.So you can see why Britain’s competition regulator has decided to challenge the e-commerce giant’s planned investment in Deliveroo, the U.K. rival to UberEats. The Competition and Markets Authority needs to tread carefully, though, as denying the funds to Deliveroo might inadvertently make it less able to compete in the food delivery business. That would be an unfortunate outcome.Back in May, Deliveroo announced a $575 million funding round led by Amazon. On Wednesday, the CMA determined that the investment might hurt competition in U.K. food delivery. It has given the companies five days to offer remedies, and it will launch a deeper probe if they don’t.The CMA’s concerns are warranted. While Amazon shuttered its British restaurant delivery operations last year, it remains interested in the market. The Deliveroo investment is a way of staying in the game; the American company is no doubt interested in the British business’s tens of thousands of riders. The two are also rivals in grocery deliveries, so forging a closer alliance would discourage them from competing. That’s a risk for delivery rival Ocado Group Plc and supermarket chains such as J Sainsbury Plc and Tesco Plc.A lengthy CMA investigation might be a problem, though, because of Deliveroo’s pressing capital requirements. A probe probably wouldn’t complete until the second quarter of next year, according to Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Aitor Ortiz. By then Deliveroo will have waited a year to receive its investment. If previous form is a guide, it needs that money. In 2018 Deliveroo burned through almost 200 million pounds ($263 million) of cash. If it has been spending at a similar clip this year, it might be nearing the bottom of its pile.There are plenty of remedies that might be acceptable to the CMA: An assurance from Amazon that it won’t try to buy Deliveroo for five years; a pledge not to integrate delivery services; and Amazon refraining from taking a board seat. If such concessions remove Amazon’s rationale for the investment, then it should back out. At least that would give Deliveroo an earlier opportunity to find different funding.The CMA will have one eye on what happened recently in the German food delivery market, where Takeaway.com NV acquired the local businesses of Delivery Hero SE, giving it more than 90% market share. But it can afford a degree of lenience in this case. It could still block any merger, should that materialize. Delaying Deliveroo’s access to funds would probably hold the company back in its market scrap with UberEats and Just Eat Plc.Regulators have been poor at anticipating the market-cornering impact of deals in the past, most famously Facebook Inc.’s acquisition of Instagram and Google’s $3.2 billion purchase of DoubleClick. Scrutinizing Amazon is right and proper, and a commitment not to integrate Deliveroo’s courier network would be a fair condition. But unless a full merger is on the table, the CMA mustn’t overdo things.To contact the author of this story: Alex Webb at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: James Boxell at email@example.comThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Alex Webb is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering Europe's technology, media and communications industries. He previously covered Apple and other technology companies for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Shares in Tesco rose more than 5% on Monday after Britain's biggest retailer said it might sell its Asian businesses, in Thailand and Malaysia, which analysts valued at up to $9 billion. Tesco said on Sunday it had begun a review of its Asian operations after receiving approaches for the businesses. Pulling out of Asia would mark a further retreat towards Tesco's core domestic market and a shift in strategy as the group had identified Thailand, where it is the market leader, as a key growth area at its Capital Markets Day in June.